Private Schools and the Rights of Private School Students

Private schools stand in a unique position with greater authority over their students and greater leeway when it comes to military recruiters.

The in-school activities of private school students are not protected by the Constitution; the Constitution only protects us against the conduct of public employees or officials. Thus, students in private schools only have those rights (e.g. the right to form groups and to meet, the right to distribute literature in school) which are specifically granted by the school. If you are a private school student, check with the school to see what their policies or practices are with regard to student rights.

Both No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and National Defense Authorization Act (NCAA) provide that the requirement that schools release information about their students and the military's right to physical access to the school (if allowed to colleges and prospective employers) "do not apply to a private secondary school that maintains a religious objection to service in the Armed Forces if the objection is verifiable through the corporate or other organizational documents or materials of that school." Religious in this case not only means traditional religions but any system of beliefs "that is sincere and meaningful [and] occupies a place in the life of its possessor parallel to that filled by the orthodox belief in God of one who clearly qualifies for the exemption."