Youth and Students' Rights

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The Constitution doesn’t place age requirements on our freedoms. ACLU-TN works to ensure that every student has the equal opportunity to attend nurturing and safe schools that provide high quality education free from discrimination. Highlights of our youth rights work include defending students’ free speech and privacy rights, preserving students’ religious freedom, protecting LGBT youth from harassment and bullying, and working to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline.

We also offer a robust youth engagement program, including internships, students’ rights conferences and more.

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7 03, 2018

End the Months-Long Solitary Confinement of a 16-Year-Old Girl

2018-03-07T15:06:25+00:00 March 7th, 2018|Categories: Take Action|

A 16-year-old Shelby County girl has been held in solitary confinement for more than four months now, spending over 22 hours per day alone in a cell. Juveniles must be segregated from the adult inmate population, but holding children in solitary confinement — which has devastating consequences for young people’s social and psychological development — is not a solution.

26 02, 2018

Don’t lock up Tennessee youth for life

2018-02-26T15:38:37+00:00 February 26th, 2018|Categories: Take Action|

SB 197/HB 274 would end de facto life without parole sentencing for juveniles by requiring courts to consider mitigating circumstances when determining sentences for juveniles tried and convicted as adults. It also establishes that such juveniles are eligible for parole after they have served a minimum of thirty depending on the offense.

18 01, 2018

Brown v. Jordan

2018-12-20T18:24:43+00:00 January 18th, 2018|Categories: Docket|

Cyntoia Brown is a young woman serving a life sentence in the Tennessee Prison for Women. Ms. Brown was a sixteen-year-old who had been forced into prostitution when she killed a man more than twice her age, a stranger who had picked her up for sex. She was tried and convicted as an adult. The jury did not know when they convicted her that Ms. Brown suffered from fetal alcohol syndrome, which limited her executive brain function. Under Tennessee law, a child convicted as an adult is also sentenced as an adult. Thus, by operation of law, Ms. Brown must serve a minimum of 51 years in prison. Without intervention, she will likely spend the rest of her life in prison.

12 12, 2017

The Vigil (Winter 2017)

2017-12-12T14:51:37+00:00 December 12th, 2017|Categories: Newsletters, Publications|

In this issue: “ACLU-TN Defends Religious Freedom in Jackson,” “Free Speech Victory for Woman Calling Out White Supremacy,” “Defending Free Speech and Drag Queens,” “Victory for Transgender Youth in Tennessee," "ACLU-TN Fights Seizure of Disabled Vet’s Car" and more.

1 11, 2017

The Vigil (Fall 2017)

2017-12-12T14:47:34+00:00 November 1st, 2017|Categories: Newsletters, Publications|

In this issue: “Voter Suppression in the Trump Era, Voting Rights Discussed at Annual Meeting,” “ACLU-TN Sues to Defend Refugee Resettlement,” “Taking on Tennessee’s Money Bail System,” “ACLU Defends Abortion Rights in Tennessee,” "White County’s Unconstitutional Inmate Sterilization Program" and more.

31 10, 2017

ACLU-TN to Honor Journalist Dwight Lewis with Lifetime Achievement Award

2017-11-02T13:29:57+00:00 October 31st, 2017|Categories: Press Releases|

ACLU-TN will honor Dwight Lewis with its Lifetime Achievement Award at the organization’s fundraiser, The Constitution Uncorked. ACLU-TN will also present the Benjamin S. Pressnell Bill of Rights Award to Cesar Bautista, Jazmin Ramirez and Zacnité Vargas, who have dedicated themselves to fighting for the rights of DACA recipients in Tennessee.

10 10, 2017

ACLU-TN Expands Litigation Capacity with Hire of Staff Attorney

2017-10-10T14:41:22+00:00 October 10th, 2017|Categories: Press Releases|

ACLU-TN today sent a letter to the mayor and Board of Alderman of Portland, Tennessee, demanding that the city drop a proposed, unconstitutional ordinance that effectively bans drag shows.