Protecting Individual Rights

You have learned the due process protection of individual rights, the importance of the appeals process, and how the protection of individual rights and the appeals process work in real-life situations.

Now you are ready to think about why these rights need to be protected and how individual rights can change circumstances for individuals and society.

The policy at the local middle school reads that a student may be suspended if the principal feels it is deserved. However, if a student is suspended without due process, his/her individual rights will be violated. Some teachers are worried that the school district may be charged with violating students’ civil rights. They also feel it is only fair that a student be able to meet with the school’s principal before a decision about suspension is made.

Moreover, before these changes can be made to the student handbook, the changes must be approved by the board of education. However, the school district is in a crisis. There has been a recent increase in fights between students as well as an increase in thefts and vandalism. Because of this, it may be difficult for the board of education to see the importance of due process and the protection of students’ individual rights.

You are the new principal of this middle school. You talk to the Superintendent of Schools and tell her your concerns. She suggests that you write some new rules about student suspensions and bring these to the next school board meeting. You want to write rules that will not take away students’ due process rights. You also want to convince the school board that it is important that policies about student suspension protect the individual rights of students.

Write the new rules dealing with suspension. Be sure the new rules consider:

In your presentation to the school board (your class), be sure you: