Forming an ACLU High School Club

Get IN at your high school! Before you start, know what the ACLU does and what we work for:

The ACLU is a non-partisan, non-profit organization that works to defend people's individual rights as outlined in the Bill of Rights. The ACLU does this by litigating in the courts, in Congress, in local state governments, and in the streets with direct action and public education.

The ACLU believes that:

  • schools should not use censorship as a tool to cover up controversial issues;
  • religion and public schools don't mix and that a mandatory prayer or moment of silence is unconstitutional;
  • the student press deserves almost the same protections in Arizona as the mainstream press;
  • students have a reasonable expectation of privacy in public schools and should not be subjected to random searches -- such as drug sniffing dogs, drug testing, locker searches, breathalyzer tests, metal detectors, strip searches, surveillance cameras, etc.;
  • young people have the same rights to move freely in public and should not be subjected to unwarranted searches, stops, curfews, bans from stores based on age, etc.;
  • students have the right to be in campus environments that are safe, secure, and peaceful;
  • students should have the freedom to attend school without being discriminated against because of their sex, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, appearance, or physical disability;
  • since minority students often face discrimination, we support programs designed to help them do well in school, such as bilingual education or affirmative action programs.

Know the ACLU positions that might be controversial:

  • The ACLU defends free speech, even the most hateful speech, because you don't need the First Amendment to protect popular viewpoints, only the most unpopular.
  • The ACLU is against the death penalty because it is cruel and unusual punishment that is applied unfairly against the poor and people of color.
  • The ACLU supports social, government, or community investments in rehabilitation and prevention rather than an over-reliance upon incarceration and punishment for those who break our laws.
  • The ACLU believes our society still discriminates and therefore recognizes the need for affirmative action programs in employment and education.

As an ACLU club member, you don't have to agree with every position the ACLU takes. However, you must support the general purpose of the ACLU, which is to ensure that everyone's rights are protected, and to fight laws or policies that limit our freedoms as outlined in the Bill of Rights.

School policies regarding starting a high school club vary from school to school, but if you run into difficulties email us at, or call our office at 602.650.1854 .


Forming an ACLU College Club

Student activism can have a powerful, national impact, and ACLU campus clubs are integral to the ACLU's mission to protect and expand civil liberties.

Campus groups play many important roles:

  • educating fellow students 
  • impacting school policy
  • raising awareness of campus-related civil rights issues
  • promoting ACLU campaigns

This is one of the best ways college students can work to protect their rights and the rights of others in their community! As an ACLU campus group you benefit from the experience and resources of the national ACLU, the ACLU of Arizona, local ACLU-AZ chapters and other campus groups as you work to protect the civil liberties of not just America's youth, but all Americans. Join a club at your campus or contact us to start a club.

The ACLU on Campus: Your Guide to Creating an ACLU College Club can help you get started.