Protecting Individual Rights
Activity 1 Scoring Guide: Strategy 3

Completed Inquiry Chart


Due Process Rights of Public School Students

1. Are teachers, principals, and other school officials required to provide due process rights to students? 2. How does the phrase from the Fourteenth Amendment: “nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law” apply to public school students? 3. Are public school students protected from corporal punishment (spanking) for breaking school rules according to the Eighth Amendment’s protection from cruel and unusual punishment?




  All persons are protected by due process.  




Does due process protect me if someone is bullying me? Could a student be suspended for stealing another student's property?  

American Civil Liberties Union"Ask Sybil Liberty About Your Right to Fair Treatment"




The Fourteenth Amendment guarantees everyone in the United States "due process" by Federal and State authorities. Teachers and other school officials are government authorities in the school and must treat students fairly.

The only way a school can suspend or expel a student without notice or a hearing is if the student is a danger to other students or school property.


American Association of School Administrators School Administrator "Safeguarding Rights, Minimizing Exposure"




  Due process rights of students are very similar to the rights of adults. "Students are entitled to fairness and equal protection guarantees of the 14th Amendment." School officials and teachers who know of a possible threat from one student to another student must take "appropriate and immediate steps to prevent the threat from being carried out."

Exploring Constitutional Law by Doug Linder (2004)




In 1975 the U. S. Supreme Court ruled in the case of Goss v. Lopez that accused students must be afforded an informal hearing with school administrators before they can be suspended. A student's right to a public education is a property right and is protected by the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments' Due Process Clause. In 1977 the U. S. Supreme Court ruled that school children do not need Eighth Amendment protection from corporal punishment at school because it is not "cruel and unusual." But a student who is faced with corporal punishment must be given the same rights to an informal hearing as is a student who would be suspended. Some states have laws against using corporal punishment in schools but students are not protected from corporal punishment by the Constitution.