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Sponsors: Jeff Beaver, John Earl, Kenneth Kang

Co-Sponsors: Martin Keck, Nick Feamster, Josh Dorward, Shane Braunstein

As Passed by the Council (15 For, 1 Against, 9 Abstentions), April 9, 1997

Declaration of Students' Rights

Education

  1. [study] Each and every student has the inalienable right to pursue any course of study which is in pursuant to the graduation requirements of Menlo School.
  2. [publication] Any student may publish in any appropriate public forum the findings of his/her studies, provided that the publisher and/or editor consent to its publication.
  3. [intellectual property] All work done by a student remains property of the student provided that the student has resolved all copyright and intellectual property rights.

Individual

  1. [stability] The student has the right to a peaceful, stable environment. With this in mind, no entity shall adopt measures that unduly disturb the students' ability to study, learn, and educate themselves.
  2. [privacy] Every student has a right to privacy provided that such privacy does not endanger others or infringe on the rights of others.
  3. [movement] Every student has the right to freedom of movement provided that such movement does not endanger the student or his/her peers.
  4. [assembly] Any group of students may hold a peaceful assembly.
  5. [speech] Students have the right to freedom of expression in any medium provided they abide by all applicable laws.
  6. [discrimination] No student shall be excluded from any activity for his/her disabilities, gender, race, ethnic background, or religion with the exception of those activities that would endanger the physical safety of the participants. Furthermore, all students shall have an equal opportunity to study, learn, participate, and pursue his/her interests.
  7. [peer infringement] No one shall exercise these rights in a manner that infringes on another's rights.

Organization

  1. [information] Every student has the right to any information, administrative, or otherwise which affects the student either directly or indirectly.
    (a) This article in no way shall infringe on a student's right to privacy.
  2. [information] The student has an inalienable right to materials and reports of international, national, state, and local sources which affect the student.
  3. [involvement] The student shall in particular be provided the opportunity to be heard in any judicial or administrative proceedings affecting the student, either directly or through a representative or appropriate body; both are held accountable to the student or students.
  4. [clubs] Students have the right to form combinations, unions, clubs, and other similar organizations either as a division of Menlo School or entirely separate.
    (a) Independent student organizations must be declared completely independent in a public forum. The independent organization must assume all responsibility for its actions and programs and comply with all applicable state, federal, and local laws and regulations. Menlo School is in no way liable for such a student organization.
    (b) Student organizations have the right to submit critiques of teachers and administrators for review. In addition, they shall have the power to petition to protect their rights.

Recourse & Legal

  1. [suspension] In the event of general disorder and intractable disturbances, the Menlo School administration, with the express written consent of the student council, may suspend these any one or all of these rights for an explicit period of time. Local, state, and federal governments that have been granted the power to do so, may suspend or revoke these rights in accordance with applicable laws.
  2. [separate parts] If any one part of this document is found to be unconstitutional or superseded by a law or act of the city, county, state, or federal government, then that clause, and that clause alone, shall be declared null and void. Such declaration shall not affect the other clauses of this document which shall remain in force.
  3. [arbitration] The student or students have the right to arbitration or mediation by a third party who is mutually chosen by the Menlo School administration and the student or students in question.
    (a) Any such proceeding shall abide by all applicable procedural rules of national law.
    (b) This clause does not preclude any appeal to the appropriate court of law.

About the Declaration of Students' Rights

The remainder of this page was written by Kenneth Kang and does not necessarity reflect the opinions or views of Menlo School, its administration, the Student Council, the drafting group of the Declaration of Students' Rights, or any interpretation of the document.

On February 12, 1997, Jeff Beaver, John Earl, and I began collaborations on a document which would state the rights of a student. This began with a word or two at Student Council and an ensuing discussion and drafting via E-mail. Taking inspiration from documents such as the UN Charter, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Convention on the Rights of the Child, Constitution, World Declaration on the Survival, Protection and Development of Children, the drafting process included Martin Keck, John Earl, Aaron Green, Jeff Beaver, Mrs. Lapolla, Mark Dannenberg, Debbie Schapira, Nick Feamster, Dan Fanton, and Josh Dorward. After three major drafts, the draft presented to Council was ratified 15 for, 1 against, and 9 abstentions with a deletion of one word.

Discussions focused on several topics:

The document, as written, requires quite a bit of interpretation, implementation, and understanding. The drafting committee worked hard to keep this document short and easy to read. Interpreting, understanding, and implementing the Declaration of Students' Rights is a monumental task facing the Menlo community. To this end, the Council is pursuing guidance and support from the Menlo faculty. Suggested methods of introducing this legislation have been a presentation or signing at Assembly, Advocacy, or at Class Meetings. The Council has not voted on an exact procedure at this time, but it has been suggested that the faculty be informed first and foremost. The Business Office, Menlo's Lawyer, the MSA, and the Board of Trustees have also been suggested.