Students’ Civil Rights Project

Public Justice’s Students’ Civil Rights Project uses litigation and advocacy to combat harassment and other forms of discrimination so that all students can learn and thrive in school. Our unique strategy for effecting lasting, systemic change pairs innovative legal advocacy with outreach, education, and mobilization efforts that empower young people to be catalysts for critical reforms.

Our work is rooted in, and steered by, our commitment to educational access, legal accountability, and youth empowerment.

Every student must be able to access education in a learning environment that is free from discrimination, including harassment and violence. No student should lose out on the chance to learn because of their race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other part of who they are. And no student should fear going to school because they are the target of discrimination, bullying, or other abuse.

There must be accountability for schools and leaders who fail to create the safe learning environment required under the law. All schools have a legal obligation to provide an equal opportunity for all students to learn. When schools fail to do so, we take them to court to ensure long-lasting change.

As advocates for equitable schools, we work to empower young people – including students of color, LGBTQ+ students, and student survivors of sexual harassment – to organize, advocate and stand for change in their K-12 schools, colleges, and universities.

If you believe you may have a case that Public Justice should know about, please click here to send our legal team more details.
Youth Empowerment. Educational Access. Legal Accountability.
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The Students’ Civil Rights Project increases access to education, holds institutions accountable and empowers young people, especially LGBTQ youth, students facing gender-based or sexual harassment and students of color who are harassed or disproportionately disciplined.


Help us protect, inform and empower students and their families.

Sign up today for exclusive updates on our work and how you can make a difference.

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  • July 21, 2021

    Public Justice Announces Winners for 2021 Trial Lawyer of the Year Award

    Public Justice’s 2021 Trial Lawyer of the Year award was awarded to two legal teams who each won landmark cases – one of which involved taking on police brutality and corruption in the City of East Cleveland, and the other involving a historic breach-of-trust class action lawsuit granting thousands

  • July 14, 2021

    Urgent: Support Rohit Chopra’s Nomination to Lead CFPB

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  • July 6, 2021

    Huntington Hero Award Honoree Kelly Simon: ‘Philanthropy offers opportunity’

    By Karen Ocamb, Director of Media Relations

    Kelly Simon pauses Public Justice’s Development Director is usually unflappably gregarious but being asked how she feels about being this year’s Huntington Hero Award honoree took her aback

    “I know that my wife Melissa is