Students' Right to Protest

Students' Right to Protest

At SFUSD we support our students in taking action to address issues of concern to them. Please review our approach to walkouts, protests and demonstrations that occur during the regular school day.

Support of Students’ Rights

The district supports the right of our students to express their views in a peaceful manner, including their constitutional right to peacefully protest.  Our students have exercised this right in numerous visible ways including participation in sit-ins, walkouts, taking a knee at athletic events, and marches. 

On-Campus Expression

Students have the right to exercise freedom of speech and the press including the use of bulletin boards, the distribution of printed materials or petitions, the wearing of buttons, badges, and other items, and the right of expression in official publications, so long as the expression does not violate applicable state or federal law. 

Field Trips to Demonstrations

District staff are not permitted to organize, recruit, direct, or control students' off-campus expression.  This includes promoting or endorsing that students participate in any specific student demonstration, distribution of materials of a political nature, sit-in, or walk-out.  Staff may, upon receiving permission from their school site administrator, attend an off-campus protest with students in a supervisory, non-participatory capacity. 

Protest and Absences

Middle and high school students have the right to participate in protests off campus and will not be prevented from doing so. Students with parent permission to be off campus will receive an excused absence. 

Student Safety

Student safety is a top priority. When students leave our campuses, we are no longer able to ensure student safety. For this reason, when a school or the district learns about a planned walkout or any instance where groups of students might be departing campus, SFUSD staff will work closely with the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) to monitor the safety of our students if they travel away from district property and out of our care. Through this coordinated effort, we are more able to support student safety as they exercise their First Amendment rights.

Student Freedom of Speech/Expression Policy

This page was last updated on June 6, 2022