Constitutional Issues

Students do not shed their rights at the schoolhouse gate. In the words of the U.S. Supreme Court, students "are possessed of fundamental rights which the State must respect, just as they themselves must respect their obligations to the State." The following are resources related to students' rights under the First Amendment, including free speech and religious freedoms; students' rights under the Fourth Amendment, including reasonable searches and drug testing; and parental rights.

First Amendment Freedoms
Drug Testing and Student Searches
Parental Rights

First Amendment Freedoms   

Related Policies

Your local school board policy manual contains TASB's (LEGAL) reference policies and board-adopted (LOCAL) policies. Your district may also have relevant administrative regulations. For more information on First Amendment issues, see district policy and regulations at the following codes:

FNA Student Expression
FNAA Distribution of Nonschool Literature
FNAB Use of School Facilities for Nonschool Purposes

TASB Resources

  • TASB Policy Service provides Starting Points, which are tool kits to assist districts in developing local policies. Starting Points are posted online behind myTASB. A Starting Points is available for policy codes FNAA and FNAB on Student Distribution of Nonschool Literature and Nonschool Use of School Facilities by Students. A Starting Points is also available for policy code FNA on Student Expression to help districts develop a student speaker policy, as required by the Texas Religious Viewpoints Antidiscrimination Act.
  • TASB Legal Services' article Religious Speech gives a brief overview of the Religious Viewpoints Antidiscrimination Act, a 2007 law that requires districts to adopt local policy related to student expression.
  • TASB Legal Services' article To Pray or Not To Pray: A Legal Question and Answer on Student-Led Prayer at Graduation discusses the legality of student-led prayer at school events.
  • TASB Legal Services' article Distribution of Nonschool Materials on School Property, explains the rights of students who wish to distribute nonschool materials at school or events and when districts can impose restrictions.
  • TASB Legal Services' article Employee and Student Legal Issues Related to the Holiday Season discusses issues that arise during the holiday season, including holiday displays and religious curriculum.
  • More resources from TASB Legal Services and other sources are available free online in Religion Resources.
  • For information on grievances, see eSource at Personnel – Employment Conditions – Grievances.

Other Resources

Drug Testing and Student Searches   

Related Policies

For more information on drug testing and student searches, see district policy and regulations at the following code:

FNF Interrogations and Searches

TASB Resources

Other Resources

  • The Texas Attorney General (AG) School Crime and Discipline Handbook provides an overview of district responsibilities related to student search guidelines.
  • The AG School Safety Guide provides information on student searches, locker searches, metal detectors, drug dogs, and drug tests.
  • TEA Office of Legal Services General Student FAQ’s answers a frequently asked question about mandatory drug testing.

Parental Rights   

Related Policies

For more information on parental rights, see district policy and regulations at the following code:

FNG Student and Parent Complaints/Grievances

TASB Resources

Other Resources

  • TEA Office of Legal Services General FAQ’s answers frequently asked questions about parent visitation and parent requests that certain teachers teach their children.