As a student in Boston Public Schools, you have rights that entitle you to a free public education and you have responsibilities as a partner in your own education.  

This is a list of some of your rights around certain policies as a BPS student. The Code of Conduct provides a complete list of your rights as a BPS student.

Alternative Discipline

Suspension and expulsion should be your administrator’s last resort. You have the right to disciplinary interventions and a hearing before exclusion from school.

Alternative Education

If, for disciplinary reasons, you are excluded for more than 10 consecutive school days, you have the right to alternative educational services.

SOURCE: Chapter 222 of Massachusetts Laws of 2012, effective 2014

Cell Phones

Cell phones must remain off (not on vibrate) and hidden during school. You may use cell phones before or after school hours outside or inside the school building, at after-school or sports activities (with permission of your coach, instructor, or program directors), and at evening or weekend activities inside the school building. If it is your first offense your confiscated phone must be returned to you by the end of the school day and cannot be held overnight or until a parent can retrieve it.

Dress Code

You have the right to determine your own appearance, including your style of hair and clothing, as long as it is consistent with "reasonable rules necessary for health and safety". You cannot be suspended in-school or out-of-school for a uniform or dress code violation or for not having a uniform or clothing required for a certain class.

Free Speech

You can use your First Amendment rights of free speech, assembly, press, and association in school. This means you can (if it is not illegal, obscene, or overly disruptive) wear political buttons or badges, distribute materials or petitions (during school lunch of before and after school hours), make announcements, and form political or social organizations.

Homework

Homework should be relevant to the day's lesson, provide preparation for the next day and should be reviewed in class every day. Your teachers should coordinate assignments so you do not have too much homework on any given night.

LGBTQ Rights

You can't be discriminated against or denied from participating in school activities based on your gender identity or sexual orientation. You have the right to be addressed by the name and pronoun of your choice and the right to use the restrooms/locker rooms consistent with your gender identity or gender neutral ones if you prefer. You have the right to determine your own appearance, including your style of hair and clothing, as long as it is consistent with "reasonable rules necessary for health and safety".

Military Recruitment

By filling out the Release of Information to Military and Higher Education Recruiters form, or middle insert of the Guide to Boston Public Schools for Families and Students military recruiters cannot access your personal information.

Non-Discrimination

You have the right to participate fully in classroom instruction and extracurricular activities at your school regardless of your "race, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, handicap, disability, age, active military status, or genetics".

Physical Education

Schools are required to offer at least 45 minutes of PE weekly in grades K-8 and at least one semester of PE per grade in grade 9-12.

Punctuality

You have the rights to enter the school building even if you arrive late.

School Rules

You have the right to participate in the development of rules and regulations at your school. Contact your Principal, Headmaster, or Director about your School Site Council, which must contain two students elected by their peers. School Site Councils make decisions on staffing, budgeting, and school rules.

Student Government

Students have a right to elect a government of their peers by secret ballot, and you have the right to seek and hold office at your school. Each year, elections must be held by October 15th. Your school's student government should reflect the diversity of the student body in terms of race/ethnicity, gender, grade level, educational program (e.g. general, special, and bilingual education), and other factors.

Student to Teacher Constructive Feedback

All BPS high school students have the opportunity to fill out a student-to-teacher Constructive Feedback form for every teacher as a way to give feedback on classroom management and instruction.

Teacher Evaluations

All districts in the state of Massachusetts must collect student feedback as evidence in educator evaluations.

Metal Detector

You have the right to be treated with respect when you walk through metal detectors at school.