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Chapter 12. The LAW. The Need To Understand Education’s Legal Environment. Have you ever thought about how laws, regulations, and court decisions affect the field of education? Prospective teachers and veteran teachers need to have insight about legal matters of the profession

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chapter 12
Chapter 12

The LAW

the need to understand education s legal environment
The Need To Understand Education’s Legal Environment

Have you ever thought about how laws, regulations, and court decisions affect the field of education?

Prospective teachers and veteran teachers need to have insight about legal matters of the profession

Daily decisions can have legal ramifications

2

rules for teachers 1872
Rules for Teachers - 1872
  • Teachers each day will fill lamps, clean chimneys.
  • Each teacher will being a bucket of water and a scuttle of coal for the daily session.
  • Make your pens carefully. You whittle nibs to the individual taste of the pupils.
  • Men teachers may take one evening each week for courting purposes, or two evenings a week if they go to church regularly.
rules for teachers 18721
Rules for Teachers - 1872
  • After ten hours in school, the teacher may spend the remaining time reading the Bible or other good books.
  • Women teachers who marry or engage in unseemly conduct will be dismissed.
  • Each teacher shall lay aside from each pay a goodly sum of his earnings for his benefit during his declining years so that he will not become a burden on society.
rules for teachers 18722
Rules for Teachers - 1872
  • Any teacher who smokes, uses liquor in any form, frequents pool or public halls, or gets shaved in a barber shop will give good reason to suspect his worth, intention, integrity, and honesty.
  • The teacher who performs his labor faithfully and without fault for five years will be given an increase of 25 cents per week in his pay, provided the Board of Education approves.
rules for students late 1800s
Rules for Students – Late 1800s
  • Respect your schoolmaster. Obey him and accept his punishments.
  • Do not call your classmates names or fight with them. Love and help each other.
  • Never make noises or disturb your neighbors as they work. Be silent during classes.
  • Do not talk unless absolutely necessary.
  • Bring firewood into the classroom for the stove whenever the teacher tells you to.
  • If the master calls your name after class, straighten the benches and tables, sweep the room, and dust everything until tidy.
learners rights and responsibilities
Learners Rights and Responsibilities

Many years ago, rules and regulations in teaching were not complex

in loco parentis – school districts acted “in the place of the parent”

School personnel acted in the best interest of the student

Few legal complaints – schools were free to deal with learners as they felt necessary

Court decisions have led to legal protections for students

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learners rights and responsibilities1
Learners Rights and Responsibilities

Is Education a Privilege or a Right?

For most of the history of the constitution, education has been viewed as a privilege

When legal action was taken, courts did not refer to the Bill of Rights

Decisions were made “based on whether there was a relationship between the school policy and an educational purpose” (Fischer, Schimmel, & Steelman, 2002)

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learners rights and responsibilities2
Learners Rights and Responsibilities

Is Education a Privilege or a Right?

Example: 1915 – student expelled for refusing to apologize for a speech made during a school assembly

Changes began to occur in the 2nd half of the 20th century

Literacy was seen as critical to economic well-being

Denying education was seen as denying the chance for earning

Thus education was beginning to be viewed as a right

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direct correlation
Direct Correlation?

source: http://www.census.gov/prod/2002pubs/p23-210.pdf

learners rights and responsibilities3
Learners Rights and Responsibilities

Is Education a Privilege or a Right?

Social circumstances

1969 – Vietnam caused people to question wisdom of government

Tinker v. Des Moines Independent School District

Discussed the issue of schooling as a right and the wisdom of government

Students wore black armbands to protest the war

School officials passed a rule prohibiting the wearing of the armbands

Students suspended – Students challenged suspension

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learners rights and responsibilities4
Learners Rights and Responsibilities

Is Education a Privilege or a Right?

Social circumstances

Tinker Case, cont’d.

Case reached U.S. Supreme Court

Ruling established that individuals have a right to a public education and that learners have constitutional rights as provided to all citizens

Tinker Case placed legal issues in schools in a new context

Policies and actions of school personnel were open for questioning and challenges

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learners rights and responsibilities5
Learners Rights and Responsibilities

Due Process

Outlined in the 14th Amendment to U.S. Constitution

To be entitled to due process, individuals must show that they have been deprived of a liberty or property right.

Liberty right – free from restraints except those imposed by law

Property right – the right to specific tangible or intangible property

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learners rights and responsibilities6
Learners Rights and Responsibilities

Due Process

Ensures fair treatment in an adversarial situation

Refer to P. 316-317 for details

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learners rights and responsibilities7
Learners Rights and Responsibilities

Basic Rights (Extended to Students)

Freedom of expression

Freedom of conscience

Freedom from unreasonable search

Freedom from harassment

Right to privacy

Special rights for learners with disabilities

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learners rights and responsibilities8
Learners Rights and Responsibilities

Freedom of Expression

1st Amendment to U.S. Constitution

It is NOT unrestricted to students

Students can oppose school officials

Students cannot freely express if expression interferes with learning process of others

Offensive clothing, symbols

Verbal infractions that disrupt the class

Lewd & lascivious language

Language or speech that incites fighting or rioting

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learners rights and responsibilities9
Learners Rights and Responsibilities

Freedom of Expression

Threats of shooting, bombing, etc. – little sympathy from courts

Censorship issues – administration can legally control expression in cases that are controversial

Clothing that students wear

Is choice of dress a protected liberty right?

How do you feel about school uniforms?

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learners rights and responsibilities10
Learners Rights and Responsibilities

Freedom of Conscience

Examples: teaching certain content, participation in patriotic activities, free exercise of religion

Books and materials that do not have legitimate educational purpose – Satanism, witchcraft

Flag saluting

Sex education courses – Human Growth & Development

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learners rights and responsibilities11
Learners Rights and Responsibilities

Freedom from Unreasonable Search and Seizure

4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

Schools must have reasonable suspicion

Less stringent than probable cause (law enforcement)

Schools have to be concerned with intrusiveness – strip searches

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learners rights and responsibilities12
Learners Rights and Responsibilities

Freedom from Unreasonable Search and Seizure

Tests for the appropriateness of a search:

Target of a search

Quality of information that has led to the search

Nature of place to be searched

Nature of the search itself

Teachers: Always check with administration FIRST

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learners rights and responsibilities13
Learners Rights and Responsibilities

Freedom from Harassment

School leaders must maintain a safe and orderly environment

Bullying, sexual harassment, etc. is an emerging issue in schools

Some school districts are issuing zero tolerance policies for any type of harassment

LCSB Policy 5.33

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learners rights and responsibilities14
Learners Rights and Responsibilities

Right to Privacy

Involving the misuse of records

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (1974)

Parents and guardians have free access to child’s records

Students over age 18 have same right

Strict guidelines governing release of records to other agencies

Teachers should choose words carefully

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learners rights and responsibilities15
Learners Rights and Responsibilities

Special Rights for Learners with Disabilities

Prior to 1970s, students with special needs were excluded from school or were placed in special classrooms

PL 94-142, 1975

IDEA, 1990

Several legal cases have led to the protection of rights of learners with disabilities

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teachers rights and responsibilities
Teachers’ Rights and Responsibilities

Teacher Certification

A valid teaching certificate validates a teacher’s legal right to be hired as a teacher

Regulations regarding certification vary by state

Certification leads to a teaching contract

Certification gives a “presumption of competence”

Contracts without a valid certificate are not binding

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teachers rights and responsibilities1
Teachers’ Rights and Responsibilities

Continuing Employment and Tenure

Teaching has a high degree of job security

Annual contracts (yearly contracts) - AC

Tenure policies

Professional Services Contracts – PSC

Continuing Contracts – CC

Tenure was created:

To protect teachers from losing jobs as a result of exchanging ideas with students that may not be popular (political views)

As an exchange for the low pay teachers receive

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teachers rights and responsibilities2
Teachers’ Rights and Responsibilities

Continuing Employment and Tenure

Opponents of tenure state that it protects incompetent teachers

Incompetent tenured teachers can be terminated, but it takes time and sometimes money

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teachers rights and responsibilities3
Teachers’ Rights and Responsibilities

General Teacher Rights

Academic freedom

Teachers can speak freely about the subjects they teach

Teachers can experiment with new ideas

Teachers can select materials to use

Teachers can decide on teaching methods

However…Teachers are still governed

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teachers rights and responsibilities4
Teachers’ Rights and Responsibilities

General Teacher Rights

Freedom of Religion

What rights do you have in refusing to teach content that might conflict with your religious beliefs?

Do you have to pledge to the flag if doing so is contrary to your religious beliefs?

Do you have the right to wear distinctive religious clothing when you teach?

Can you be absent from school to observe religious holidays?

What restrictions can be imposed on you that limit what you can say to learners about your religious convictions?

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teachers rights and responsibilities5
Teachers’ Rights and Responsibilities

Lifestyle and Conduct Outside School

Teachers’ sexual orientation

Live-in arrangements with unmarried partners

Criminal conduct

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teachers rights and responsibilities6
Teachers’ Rights and Responsibilities

Legal Obligations

Reporting child abuse

Teachers are mandated reporters

Negligence

Teachers have a responsibility to act as a professional

Misfeasance – acting unwisely or without taking proper safeguards

Nonfeasance – failing to act when duty calls

Malfeasance – actions that are taken to deliberately and knowingly harm someone

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