Analysis

Synopsis:

 Senate Bill 233 adds a new section of the Public School Code of a Student Bill of Rights.

Analysis:

 Senate Bill 233 adds a new section of the Public School Code of a Student Bill of Rights.

SECTION 1. A new section of the Public School Code is enacted to read: 
STUDENT BILL OF RIGHTS.-- 
A list of 21 rights for public school students listed briefly as follows:

A. Public school students have the right to a learning environment in which discrimination in all forms is not tolerated.

B. Students have the right to an environment in which students and school personnel are encouraged and given the means to participate in anti-racism, cultural sensitivity and tolerance training that promotes that promotes principles of equity, engages students in a culturally sensitive manner and supports a multicultural, multilingual and culturally relevant curriculum that includes access to bilingual education and ethnic studies. 

C. Students and their families have the right to feel safe and comfortable in their school environments. In furtherance of that right: 
(1) public schools shall provide access to translation and interpretation for students and their families in educational settings; 
(2) students shall have access to the gender assigned bathrooms they feel most comfortable using and access to those bathrooms when needed shall not be denied; and 
(3) students shall be addressed by the gender pronouns and name that is self-indicated in educational settings. 

D. Students have the right to have their teachers and other school personnel follow special plans that affect their educational settings, or other accommodations as directed by the school assistance team or implemented pursuant to a doctor's orders.

E. Students have the right to extracurricular and after-school programs and the means and support to access those programs and the right to request the formation of new clubs that fit their interests.

F. Students have the right to information, resources and support to prepare them for life after high school, including the encouragement to pursue higher education and to not be discouraged from pursuing higher education. Students who choose to pursue college shall have access to college readiness counselors, and students who choose vocational education or to enter the workforce shall have access to vocational counselors to assist them. 

G. Students have the right to equitable school and classroom environments.

H. Students have the right to affordable, nutritious and culturally appropriate food in the school environment. 

I. Students have the right to bilingual education and bilingual after-school programs and to integrated multilingual classrooms and public schools.

J. Students have the right to a learning environment that is free of cruel and unusual punishment. 

K. Students have the right to: 
(1) due process and to be considered innocent until proven guilty;
(2) transparency within the discipline process; and 
(3) freedom from searches of personal property by school personnel without reasonable cause and to have their parents notified if such searches do occur. 

L. Students have the right to public schools that: 
(1) seek alternatives to a police presence; 
(2) are free of immigration enforcement; 
(3) are free from the criminalization of youth; and 
(4) seek alternatives to suspension and expulsion policies and in which students are given a clean slate each year in alignment with restorative justice practices. 

M. Students have the right to access gang and violence prevention, peer-based mediation and intervention programs on campus. 

N. Students have the right and the opportunity to organize themselves and be represented by their peers in important school decision-making processes. 

O. Students have the right to: 
(1) self-representation in school district or charter school meetings; and 
(2) notification of school district or charter school and school personnel meeting times and places.

P. Students have the right to adequate access to and are encouraged to use mental health services in educational settings.

Q. Students have the right to engage in conversations with school personnel about aspects of their learning experience and to understand how the school budget works and is allocated. 

R. In times of emergencies, students shall be given the means to participate in public school in the way it is deemed necessary by the state and the school district that ensures the physical safety of students. Students shall have the access and means they need to participate in education. Students shall not be graded, failed or penalized for lack of participation during these times. The public school shall maintain quality access to necessary services normally provided by the school. 

S. In furtherance of the rights provided for in this section, public schools are encouraged to: 
(1) become sanctuary schools and ensure the safety of undocumented communities; and
(2) seek out restorative justice or alternative practices instead of punitive punishments. 

T. Students have the right to access a copy of the school district's or charter school's student bill of rights and to seek public school- or school-district-specific changes to those rights when such changes will improve the learning environment.

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