Youth Topic Icon


All young people must have the opportunity to meaningfully participate in our society.  The ACLU Youth Policy project seeks to ensure that young people – particularly those who have been historically excluded or underserved – receive meaningful education and services in communities, instead of being pushed to a juvenile justice system that will undermine their ability to be successful as adults.  Our current focus is on reforming school discipline policies and practices, working to limit school-based referrals to the juvenile justice system, and decreasing the over-reliance on jails and prisons for young people in the juvenile and adult criminal law systems.


Tuesday, December 1, 2015
When a juvenile is caught using or sharing an illegal drug, what is the appropriate community response? Should he or she be arrested and charged with a crime, or should he or she receive public health services?
Monday, August 17, 2015
The WA Supreme Court has ruled that a judge can consider a defendant’s young age in imposing a sentence for a crime committed after his 18th birthday. The ruling affirmed what parents have known and scientists have confirmed: that the brain does not achieve full maturity until well past the age of 18.
Monday, June 29, 2015
More than 100 years ago, Washington lawmakers created a separate juvenile justice system because they recognized that society benefits when juvenile courts focus on both accountability and rehabilitation.
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
We are proud to announce the latest version of our transgender “Know Your Rights” guide, The Rights of Transgender People in Washington State.
News Release, Published: 
Wednesday, July 9, 2014
The ACLU and allies are pursuing a lawsuit challenging the federal government's failure to provide immigrant children with legal representation in deportation proceedings against them. It is unfair to force children to defend themselves alone against government prosecutors.
Tuesday, May 6, 2014
After a solid year of traveling over 25,000 miles across 41 states and speaking to at least 100 schools and community groups, on May 1st the Tinker Tour made its final stop at Mountlake Terrace High School. The tour features First Amendment advocate Mary Beth Tinker, the namesake of the landmark student rights case Tinker v. Des Moines.... 
Monday, April 21, 2014
The ACLU of Washington has been working with allies to replace suspensions and expulsions with smarter, more effective forms of discipline.  According to new data from our friends at Washington Appleseed, students of color, students in special education programs, and students from lower-income families receive suspensions and expulsions at a higher rate than other students for similar misbehavior.
Thursday, April 3, 2014
Last Friday morning I attended the ACLU-WA’s annual Student Conference on Civil Liberties held at the Vera Project in Seattle Center. To my surprise I found a bustling room of high school students who were much more awake than I was at 8:30 in the morning. We had a near-record 207 attendees from 12 high schools from around western Washington.
Monday, March 24, 2014
Last week we told you about the new federal data that highlights the problem of students of color and those with disabilities being systematically denied access to education by being suspended and expelled at rates 3 to 2 times higher respectively than there peers.
Friday, March 21, 2014
The US Department of Education has just released new data on school discipline and arrests.