Students’ Rights in California Schools

All students have rights to a safe and supportive school environment. Here are some of the rights you have in school.

Identity & Expression

You can talk about being LGBTQ or discuss LGBTQ issues at your public, charter, or non-religious private school (§48907, §48950; 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution)

All students have the right to be free from bullying, harassment, and discrimination, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression (§200-220)

  • For example, you have the right to have your name used correctly, or to be protected from harassment related to your clothing.
  • All students have the right to participate fully in the education process free of discrimination and harassment (§201(a))
  • California public schools must combat racism, sexism, and other forms of discrimination to provide all with equal education (§201(b))
  • If school personnel witness an act of discrimination, harassment, intimidation, or bullying, they shall take immediate steps to intervene when safe to do so. (§234.1(b)(1))
  • School staff cannot out you to other students or other school staff without your permission, except under very limited circumstances. Schools should not out you to your parents or guardians, but be aware that schools have done this in the past.


  • Your school should teach LGBTQ inclusive history (§51204.5, §60040) and sexual health education (§51930-51939)
  • Your school shouldn’t allow classroom curriculum or sponsored activities that are discriminatory or biased (§51500)
  • You have the right to discuss LGBTQ issues and topics in school (§48907)

Access to Activities

  • You can have a GSA club if your school allows for non-curricular clubs. GSAs cannot be treated differently than any other non-curricular club (federal Equal Access Act — 20 U.S.C. § 4071)
  • You can participate in all school activities, programs, and facilities in the way that matches your gender identity, including sports teams and bathrooms. You cannot be forced to use a private restroom (§221.5(f))
  • This means you can’t be told you can only use a staff bathroom.
  • Undocumented youth have the right to K-12 education (Read more about Plyler v. Doe here:
  • School officials are required to excuse you for confidential medical appointments, and cannot require you to have parent or guardian consent to do so. This is so that students can safely and confidentially access specific medical services. (Read more about §46010.1, §48205 and confidential medical release here:
  • You can be politically active and even protest at school. However, there are some important things to keep in mind. See more information here:

Related Resources


*The symbol § refers to the article, or the particular section of the California Education Code