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Protecting Civil Liberties in Rhode Island for Over 50 Years

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Protecting the rights of students is key because most people’s first major encounter with the government is in the school setting. For students to appreciate the importance of civil liberties, it is critical that their rights be protected in school.

Students' Rights in the News

  • Sep, 06, 2017: Organizations Petition RI Dept of Ed to Adopt Statewide Policy to Protect Trans Students
  • Aug, 16, 2017: Judge Dismisses Charges Against Narragansett Residents Under Unconstitutional Housing Ordinance
  • Jun, 20, 2017: ACLU Settles Case on Behalf of Third Grader Searched and Arrested Without Cause

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Students' Rights Related Court Cases

2016: Federal Hill Capital v. City of Providence
Category: Active Case    Discrimination    Due Process    Students' Rights    


About This Case:
This is a lawsuit against the City of Providence challenging a city ordinance that prohibits more than three “college students” from living together in certain areas of the city.  The lawsuit, filed in Rhode Island Superior Court, is on behalf of the owner and tenants of a house in the Elmhurst section of Providence. The suit argues that the ordinance violates the plaintiffs’ rights to due process and equal protection of the law.

Current Status:
In March 2017, we filed a motion for summary judgment and memorandum of law explaining why the court should declare the ordinance unconstitutional.

ACLU Cooperating Attorneys:
Jeffrey L. Levy, Charles D. Blackman

Supporting Documents
2015: J.A. v. Town of Tiverton
Category: Due Process    Privacy    Students' Rights    


About This Case:
This is a federal lawsuit against Tiverton police and school officials over an incident in which an 8-year-old girl was removed from a school bus, had her belongings searched, was taken alone to the police station without her parents’ knowledge, and then held and questioned at the police station for several hours before being released. The seizure, detention, and interrogation of the young child were based solely on unsubstantiated claims from another child that the girl was carrying “chemicals” in her backpack, and occurred even after the police found nothing suspicious in the backpack.

Current Status:
Lawsuit successfully settled in June 2017.

ACLU Cooperating Attorneys:
Amato A. DeLuca, Miriam Weizenbaum

Supporting Documents

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