Chapter 1 Legal Framework Affecting Public Schools Historical Development of the U.S. Constitution • The Articles of Confederation were established in 1781 to help govern the U.S.A. • These Articles guaranteed each state’s sovereignty and independence. • In 1783, after the Revolutionary War, each state began to act similarly to an independent country-running it’s own affairs with little concern for the Republic. • The Constitution was ratified 3 months after it was signed. (Signing: Sept. 17, 1787, Ratification: From Dec. 7, 1878 to June 21, 1788) • The Constitution adhered to the principle of separation of powers by making 3 separate branches of government-the legislative, judicial, and executive. • Additionally, powers are distributed between a central government, the states, and provinces. Articles VI, however, makes the national government supreme so states are obligated to enforce the U.S. Constitution, federal statutes, and treaties. Bill of Rights • The Bill of Rights represents the primary source of individual rights and freedoms. The first 10 amendments to the Constitution are viewed as fundamental liberties of free people. • For example, the government can not pass laws prohibiting the freedom of speech. • Others include the freedom of press, assembly, and religion. • Public schools belong to the state so they too must abide to the Bill of Rights when dealing with students and school personnel. U.S. System of Courts • The 2 types of courts are federal and state. • Federal courts include district courts, appellate courts, and the Supreme Court. • At least one federal court is found in each state with a total of 95 in the U.S. • There are 13 federal circuit courts with Nebraska belonging to the 8th. • State courts are where most educational cases take place because they do not involve federal questions. • State courts are split into courts of general jurisdiction, court of special jurisdiction, courts of limited jurisdiction, and appellate courts. Federal Court Video (8 min) The Supreme Court • The Supreme Court is the highest court in the land and there is no appeal beyond the decision of this court. The only way a decision can be overturned is by an amendment to the constitution. • Cases can reach the Supreme Court only based on appeal (by right) or writ of certiorari (by granting from the Supreme Court). • There are 9 members on the Supreme Court, including a Chief Justice, who are all appointed to life terms. Supreme Court Video (3 min) Religion in the Public School “Public Schools may not inculcate nor inhibit religion. Schools must be places where religion and religious conviction are treated with fairness and respect.” First Amendment Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. Lemon v. Kurtzman (Lemon Test) 1. The actions have a secular purpose; 2. The actions do not have the principal or primary effect of advancing or inhibiting religion; 3. The actions do not foster an excessive entanglement of government with religion. 1. Student Prayers Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe 530 U. S. 290 (2000) The Court ruled prayer over a loudspeaker at a government sponsored event on government property (football game on district property) is a violation of the Establishment Clause Student Prayer and Religious Discussion Establishment Clause does not prohibit purely private religious speech Students may read Bibles, say grace, say prayer anytime it is not disruptive to the learning process Informal gatherings are ok (Meet at Pole) School may neither discourage or encourage 2. Graduation Prayers and Baccalaureate Activities Lee v. Weisman 505 U. S. 577 (1992) Ruled graduation prayers unconstitutional Baccalaureate Activities “A school may not extend preferential treatment to baccalaureate ceremonies and may in some instances be obligated to disclaim official endorsement of such ceremonies.” 3. Participation in or Encouragement of Religious Activity Teachers and school administrators or employees, when acting in those capacities, are representatives of the state and are prohibited by the establishment clause from soliciting or encouraging religious activity, and from participating in such activity with students. Employees also are prohibited from discouraging activity because of its religious content, and from soliciting or encouraging anti-religious activity. 4. Religion in School Curriculum Religion is a natural part of history, which is included in the approved curriculum in SC. When the topic is addressed, the emphasis must be purely academic and not devotional. Schools may teach about religion and its influence on areas such as art, music, literature, and social studies. 5. Religious Content in Student Assignments Students may express their beliefs about religion in the form of homework, artwork, and other written and oral assignments free of discrimination based on the religious content of their submissions. Such home and classroom work should be judged by ordinary academic standards of substance and relevance and against other legitimate pedagogical concerns identified by the school. 6. Distribution of Religious Literature Schools generally shall not permit formal distribution of any materials from any non- school organization, regardless of the content of the materials on school property. Accordingly, students generally should not distribute flyers to all students on a mass level at specific established locations at the school. Students can distribute information on an informal basis that is not disruptive. Students have a right to distribute religious literature to their schoolmates on the same terms as they are permitted to distribute other literature that is unrelated to school curriculum or activities. Schools may impose reasonable time, place, and manner on distribution of religious literature as they do on nonschool literature generally. 7. Student Participation in Religious Events Before and After School There is no legal reason not to allow students to participate in religious events “before and after school,” which do not interfere with instructional time or the educational process. 8. Religious Holidays Although public schools may teach about religious holidays, including their religious aspects, and may celebrate the secular aspects of holidays, schools may not observe holidays as religious events or promote such observance by students. 9. Released Time for Religious Instruction Subject to applicable State laws, School Boards may allow religious instruction off school property. If allowed, schools may not encourage or discourage participation or penalize those who do attend. 10. Federal Equal Access Act Generally, if secondary public schools have a limited open forum, (allows non- curriculum clubs to meet), the school must allow religious groups the same access to the school media, (PA system, school newspaper, bulletin board). Students, the Law and Public Schools REASONABLENESS Administrators must adopt defensible school polices, provide explicit discipline guidelines, ensure parent understanding, and ensure that due process is provided. Essex (2008) states, “Generally, rules are deemed to be reasonable if they are necessary to maintain an orderly and peaceful school environment and advance the educational process (p.48)” “in loco parentis” • Essex (1999), “While in loco parentis gives school officials latitude to exert authority over students under their supervision, it is not a license to act in an arbitrary or capricious manner. The constitutional rights of students must be respected. The exercise of in loco parentis is limited to school matters involving academics and discipline. Areas outside of these two are reserved to parents.” Freedom of Expression • The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states, “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech, or of press or of the rights of peoples to peacefully assemble.” • The Supreme Court in the landmark Tinker case established that students are entitled to all First Amendment guarantees stating: School officials do not possess absolute authority over their students. Students in school as well as out of school are “persons” under our Constitution. They possess fundamental rights which the State must respect…In our system, students may not be regarded as closed-circuit recipients of only that which the state chooses to communicate. They may not be confined to the expression of those sentiments that are officially approved. In the absence of a specific showing of constitutionally valid reasons to regulate their speed, students are entitled to freedom of expression of their views. Freedom of Expression • “School official may restrict freedom of expression where there is evidence of material and substantial disruption, indecent or offensive speech, violation of school rules, destruction of school property, or disregard for authority. In each case, student must be provided minimal due process before any punitive action is taken.” • The First Amendment directly impacts: protests and demonstrations, school-sponsored newspapers, nonschool- sponsored student publications, dress and appearance and controversial slogans. Court Decisions to Consider • Tinker vs. Des Moines ISD • Bethel vs. Fraser • Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier The Fourth Amendment Does the 4th Amendment 4th Amendment applies apply to students in to student searches public schools? BUT… • No unreasonable • School officials are not search/seizure required to obtain • Probable cause search warrants • Particularity • Legality of a search • Warrants conducted by school officials depends on reasonableness of search Court Decisions to Consider • New Jersey vs. T.L.O. THE TEST • Search must be justified at inception SUMMARY Q: Did school officials have 1. Students have limited right to reasonable grounds for search? privacy in school • Search must be reasonably 2. School officials must satisfy related in scope to circumstances “reasonableness” standard to justifying search search Q: Were measures used 3. School officials are not required reasonably related to objectives to obtain warrant of search and not excessively intrusive in light of age, sex of student and nature of infraction? Student’s Right to Due Process • Due Process--What Procedural Due Process—Students right to be adequately notified of does it mean? pending charges or proceedings and the opportunity to be heard during these proceedings. • Substantive Due Process—Students not subjected to arbitrary or “Due process requires capricious acts by school officials regarding the exercise of their fundamental personal rights. • fairness, fair Vagueness Doctrine—Students should not be penalized for behavior processes and fair that he/she could not reasonably understand to be prohibited procedures.” • Presumption Standard– Students may not be deprived of rights without assurance that there is sufficient factual evidence. “Procedural Safeguards and Due Process Standards” • 1. Specific warning must be given about what behavior would result in corporal punishment. • 2. Administration of corporal punishment must take place in the presence of another school official. • 3. Upon request, a written statement must be given to parents regarding reasons for the punishment and the name of the official witness. Court Decisions to Consider Goss vs. Lopez Summary Ruling • Students were suspended for • All students have the right to 10 days without a hearing and procedural due process? were not present at the board meeting when suspensions • Students have the right to were handed out. explain their conduct to an administrator (short-term suspension). • Students must be given a hearing before the school board for long-term suspensions and expulsion. Chapter 4 Due Process & Student Safety Homeland Security • Increased concern for safety across the nation after 9/11 • No Child Left Behind assures schools “plans” are on file regarding maintenance of safe & drug free environments NSCC guidelines for safe schools: 1. Identify context in which academic learning should take place in school mission statement. (ie: “to learn in a safe and secure environment free of violence, drugs…”) 2. Identify procedure for dealing with threats. 3. Identify potential disasters in your school. (ie: intruders, assault, weapons, kidnappings, child abuse, accidental death, natural disasters…) NSCC guidelines for safe schools cont. 4. Control campus access. 5. Identify roles and responsibilities. 6. Identify who to call in a crisis. 7. Provide training for all. 8. Establish and emergency communication system. 9. Implement uniform reporting/record- keeping system. Handling GANG violence 1. Ensure that school personnel have knowledge of gang identification and management techniques. 2. Establish policies and procedures to address gang violence at school. 3. Implement a system to report suspected gang involvement/activity. 4. May need to ban dress related to gang activity. School Uniforms 1. Involve the community in drafting. 2. Make certain student religious expressions are preserved. 3. Make certain student rights of expression are preserved within reasonable limits. 4. Make financial provisions for economically disadvantaged students. 5. Enforce policies fairly and consistently. 6. Implement as a component of an overall school safety program. 7. Present drafts to legal counsel for review. 8. Review and revise as needed. Zero Tolerance 1. Do not use solely to rid of disruptive students. 2. Involve community in formation of policies regarding zero tolerance. 3. Recognize that students have constitutional rights while drafting. 4. Do not move too swiftly with an assumption that it will be a “cure-all” for student mis-conduct. 5. Upon expulsion of a student, seek alternative educational opportunities. 6. Consider student history, seriousness of offense, and immediate need to act before punishment. 7. Follow due process in all manners. Suspension 1. Give adequate notice of policies regarding suspension. 2. Compile a record of information. (Include: description, time, and place of infraction, witnesses, and previous efforts to remedy behavior) 3. Provide some type of hearing preceded by notification of such. 4. Provide written or oral notice of charges (Include evidence and opportunity to refute charges). 5. No delay is necessary between notice and hearing. 6. Listen to all sides of the issue during the hearing. Students should be allowed to present their side without interruption. 7. Provide written notification of the actions from the hearing to the parents/guardians (Include: charges, evidence, number of days of suspension, ISS or OSS, conditions for return to school, statement that suspension can be appealed if desired.) 8. Inform parents/guardians by phone immediately. Follow with written notification promptly. Expulsion **These steps will meet the standards of due process if implemented correctly.** 1. Inform student(s), parents/guardians based on school policy of infractions that may result in expulsion. 2. Student is entitled to written notice of the charges and a right to a fair trial. Written notice must be furnished well in advance of the actual hearing. 3. The following procedural steps should be considered (at the minimum): 1. Written notice of charges, 2. Right to a fair hearing, 3. Right to inspect evidence, 4. Right to present evidence on student’s behalf, 5. Right to legal counsel, 6. Right to call witnesses, 7. Right to cross-examine, 8. Right against self-incrimination, 9. Right to appeal. Metal Detectors & Drug Testing • Metal detectors should be used only when there is evidence of student behavior that poses threat to student health and safety. • Drug testing by schools has been deemed legal in the Supreme court pending it is part of the school’s district-wide program on drug education and prevention and is in the district’s interest in combating drug abuse. CHAPTER 5 Individuals With Disabilities EDAD 859 By: Group 2 1975- P.L. 94-142 the Education for All Handicapped Children Act: • An act of congress after findings that supported the need. • Congress realized it was in the nations best interest for the federal government to intervene and work with the states collaboratively in addressing the needs of children with disabilities. 1990- Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA): • Defines the responsibility of school districts in regards to children with disabilities ages 3-21. The level of financial support is set forth to assist states in meeting their obligations. • This legislation was passed to ensure that all children with disabilities receive a free and appropriate public education in a least restrictive environment. 2004- Individuals With Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA): • This act was a reauthorizing of IDEA. • Was signed by the president on November 19th, 2004. • A federal law that ensures that eligible children with disabilities ages 3-21 receive a free and appropriate public education consistent with their individual needs. • It provides new formulas for allocating funds to state and local education agencies. • The act also established substantsive and procedural due process rights. 2000- National Council on Disability (NCD): • An independent federal agency of fifteen members that were appointed by the president and confirmed by the senate. • Purpose is to promote policies, programs,, practices and procedures designed to assure equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities irrespective of the nature and severity of their disability. • Found every state to be out of compliance (to some degree) with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Disciplining Students with Disabilities: • A suspension of 1-10 days is the same for a child with a disability or without a disability. • Suspension and/or expulsion over 10 days will follow the same guidelines or plan for disabled students unless the disabled student’s behavior manifested from the disability. Parental Rights in Special Education: • There is to be written consent prior to a school district conducting an initial or reevaluation of a student. • All students have a right to a “Free and Appropriate Public Education” (FAPE). • Parents must have input on a child’s IEP as they know the child best. • Parents have the right to request evaluations by other providers such as an O.T. P.T. or vision specialist etc… • Parents have the right to request meetings and to refuse special education services. Least Restrictive Environment: • Regular classroom with support from the regular education classroom teacher. • Regular class with support instruction from special education teacher. • Regular class with special resource instruction. • Full time special education class in a regular school. • Full time special school. • Residential school. • Homebound instruction. Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT): • MDT meetings are held to discuss the results of initial testing or reevaluation testing to determine if a student qualifies for Special Education Services. • All MDT meetings must have an administrator in attendance or an appointed person who is qualified to provide information, supervise and have knowledge of the availability of resources in the school district. • Students are reevaluated every three years. • Students are eligible for services from ages 3-21 but there are services available for children birth – 3 years old. Individual Educational Plan (IEP): • A written statement for each child with a disability that describes their educational program. It is developed, reviewed and revised in accordance with IDEA and must meet Rule 51 and IDEA requirements. • Must meet annually. • Can include related services such as O.T., P.T., etc…as needed. • Must be developed and implemented for each public and non public school child who receives special education and related services. Questions? Check this out! • http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/504 faq.html Chapter 6 School Personnel and School District Liability Liability • Liability involving school personnel normally falls into two categories: intentional torts and unintentional. • Intentional torts-such as assault, battery, libel, slander, defamation, false arrest, malicious prosecution, and invasion of privacy-require proof of intent or willfulness. • Unintentional torts-such as simple negligence-does not require such proof of intent or willfulness. • In either case, charges may be sustained if the school failed to act appropriately or improperly. • Forseeability, a crucial element in liability cases, is defined as the teacher’s or administrator’s ability to predict that a certain activity may prove harmful. For example, a school would be liable if broken glass panes exist in a doorway. Student safety • Teachers have a legal duty to instruct students on the proper use of equipment and materials. Failure to do so makes the teacher liable. Examples include use of table saws, welding equipment, science equipment, and athletic equipment and techniques. • There is no clear cut line for procedures for before and after school supervision. Each district must evaluate their own situation and provide the supervision necessary. At the very least, students should be periodically monitored. If problem arise, then full time supervision would be required • A letter informing parents of before and after school monitoring policies should be sent home, signed by the legal guardian, and returned to the school. General thoughts • School grounds should be accessible and considered safe for visitors. • Personal information regarding students must be kept confidential. • Schools should develop a culture and a set of values that place a high premium on respect of all individuals in the school community. • Items retrieved from students, if not illegal, should be returned to students or their parents in a reasonable time frame and not retained permanently by school personnel. • Well planned liability workshops should be offered periodically to ensure that school personnel are aware of the limits of liability. Interesting Video (2 min) • News Story Liability and Student Records Chapter 7 School Law and the Public Schools, 2008 Nathan Essex Public Law 93-380 • The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) protects confidentiality of student records. • Rights of Parents: Parents or legal guardians have the right to inspect their child’s record • Right of Noncustodial Parents: The courts have maintained that neither parent could be denied access to the child’s records under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. • Rights of Eligible Students: The student may exercise the same rights afforded parents or guardians, if he or she has reached the age of 18 or in enrolled in a postsecondary institution. • Rights of School Personnel: Teachers, counselors, and administrators who have a legitimate educational interest in viewing record may do so. A written form, must be maintained permanently with the file. Confidentiality • School counselors are not required to share information obtained from students with their parents. Records that remain in the sole possession of counselors are not subject to FERPA. Educational records under FERPA do no include personal files. When circumstances arise in which public disclosure is in the public interest, confidentiality is lost. • Federal and state officials may inspect files without parental consent in order to enforce federal or state laws or to audit or evaluate federal education programs. Landmark U.S. Supreme Court Rulings • Owasso ISD v. Falvo, 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that peer grading does not violate FERPA. • Gonzaga University v. John Doe, 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that student and parent may not sue for damages under 42 U.S.C. 1983 to enforce provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. Defamation Involving School Personnel • When school personnel communicate personal and sensitive information to another unauthorized person that results in injury to the student’s reputation or standing in the school or that diminishes the respect and esteem to which the student is held, they may faces charges of libel or slander depending on the manner and intent in which such information was communicated. • Slander is oral defamation, when school personnel inadvertently communicate sensitive and damaging information contained in student file to unauthorized individuals. Defamation Involving School Personnel • Libel is written defamation. Teachers, counselors and principals should refrain from including damaging information in the student’s record for which there is no basis. • Qualified privilege protects school personnel that provide oral or written information regarding a student, some of which might be contained in the student’s file when the requests are made and the school personnel responds in a truthful and reasonable manner. This privilege is based on the premise that the educator is operating in good faith. Defamation Involving School Personnel • Acts of Malice exists when there is an clear intent to harm or injure another. • Defenses Against Defamation include privilege, good faith and truth. Chapter 8: Teacher Freedoms Substantial Process—the state must have a valid objective when it intends to deprive a teacher of life, liberty, or property, and the means used must be reasonably calculated to achieve its objective. Procedural Due Process—the state may not deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law. Freedom of Expression: In school, limited if it creates material disruption to the educational interest of the school district Outside of school, comments need to prefaced that comments are personal opinion Statements cannot be false or detrimental to the school district Speech Outside the School Environment • Freedom of Speech outside the school environment is well established, however, a teacher should preface his or her comments by indicating that he or she is speaking as a private citizen rather than an employee of the board • Pickering v. Board of Education—US Supreme Court held that in the absence of proof of the teacher knowingly or recklessly making false statements the teacher had a right to speak on issues of public importance without being dismissed from his position. Academic Freedom • Academic freedom is not a right • Classrooms cannot be used to promote personal or political agendas • Fowler v. Board of Education of Lincoln County—Court deemed that teachers are role models with responsibility for inculcating fundamental values, and that those values disfavor expression that is highly offensive to others. Freedom of Association and Membership of Subversive Organizations • Teachers have freedom of association as long as they are not involved in illegal activities • Keyishian v. Board of Regents 1967 US Supreme Court case which declared that stated that the classroom is peculiarly the "marketplace of ideas.” Political Rights and Participation in Campaigns • Teachers have the right to political office, but may be asked to take a leave of absence while in office • Minielly v. State case in Oregon, the district court held to be invalid a state law that prohibited public employees from running for political office. Dress and Grooming • Dress and grooming can be regulated by the board • East Hartoford Education Association v. Board of Education of Town of East Hartford—A teacher was reprimanded for failing to wear a tie while teaching. He took action in the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut and was granted a motion for summary judgment based on the fact that the plaintiff asserted no cognizable constitutional interest. Right to Privacy • Erb v. Iowa State Board of Public Instruction—held the revocation of a teaching certificate for adultery was impermissible when defendant made no findings of the fact and the statute did not permit “personal moral judgment,” especially when only one incident occurred with no adverse affect shown. • Teachers are entitled to privacy and cannot be penalized for private noncriminal acts • Pregnant unwed teachers may not be automatically dismissed unless there is a definite reason for doing so. Religious Freedoms • Good News Club v. Milford Central School, (2001), held that when a government operates a “limited public forum,” it may not discriminate against speech that takes place within that forum on the basis of the viewpoint it expresses—in this case, against religious speech engaged in by an Evangelical Christian club for children. • Religious Freedoms can be limited if dress creates a reverent atmosphere • Religious rights of teachers must be respected, so long as they do not violate the establishment cause of the 1st Amendment by creating excessive entanglement in the school. Discrimination in Employment Chapter 9 Group 2 Josh, Angelique, Gary, Jessica, & Roni Statues prohibiting discrimination • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 – Prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. • Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 – Prohibits sexual discrimination by public and private educational institutions receiving federal funds. • Equal Protection Clause of 14th Amendment – Provides protection against group discrimination and unfair treatment. Statues prohibiting discrimination • Rehabilitation Act of 1973 – Prohibits discrimination against any otherwise qualified person who has a disability with respect to employment, training, compensation, promotion, fringe benefits, and terms and conditions of employment. • Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 – Protects individuals with disabilities against discrimination and assures equal access to opportunity. Statues prohibiting discrimination • Affirmative Action - Proposition 209 – A means to eliminate affirmative action programs supported by governmental agencies. – Prohibits discrimination and preferential treatment on the basis of race, sex, ethnicity, color, or national origin. Statues prohibiting discrimination • Age Discrimination Act in Employment Act of 1967 – Prohibit forced retirement of employees. • Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 – Amendment to Title VII which protects pregnant employees against any form of discrimination based on pregnancy. Other areas protected… • Sexual Harassment – Prohibited by Title VII and Title IX • Issues involving National Origin: Proposition 187 – Enacted in 1994 denies public social services to people who are unable to establish there status as U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, or aliens lawfully admitted for certain period of time. – Some consider this to violate the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment. – Is one of the most controversial issues and still being debated. Chapter 10: Recruitment, Tenure, Dismissal and Due Process EDAD 859 Tenure: • Teachers are entitled to fundamental fairness, even if they have not achieved tenure. • Tenure is not designed to protect teachers who are inept or ineffective. However, it should protect competent and effective teachers. • Teachers may only be dismissed for specified reasons that are documentable and objective evidence. • Due Process procedures must be followed to be sure that dismissal decisions are legally defensible. • Nonrenewal of a non tenured teacher’s contract does not generally require due process, unless there is an alleged constitutional violation. Dismissal for Cause: 1. Grounds for dismissal include incompetency, insubordination, neglect of duty, immorality, justifiable decrease in number of teaching positions, financial exigency or “other good and just cause”. 2. A board of education may dismiss a teacher for almost any reason , as long as the reason is valid and meets the due process requirements. 3. To dismiss a teacher for incompetency systematic evaluations, documentation of performance and a thorough teacher improvement plan. 4. Sexual misconduct involving students by school personnel will almost always result in dismissal. Dismissal for Cause (cont.): • 5. Community norms and expectations regarding professional conduct of teachers are very important considerations in cases involving alleged immoral conduct and and dismissal. • 6. A felony conviction or series of misdemeanors may result in dismissal and revocation of a teaching license. • 7. Private acts of homosexuality or adultery cannot form a basis for dismissal unless there is evidence that such acts render the teacher ineffective and there is proof that such acts adversely affect a teacher’s ability to perform his/her assigned duties. Financial Exigency: • This is when a district faces a bona fide reduction in its budget which results in abolishing certain employment positions. The school board must demonstrate financial exigency. • All employees must be afforded full due process provisions if affected by a reduction in force. • School districts cannot use financial exigency to remove an employee who has exercised a constitutionally protected right. • Seniority and job performance should receive priority in RIF (reduction in force) decisions. • School district policy/state statutes must be followed to the letter to implement RIF policies. Collective Bargaining: • The basic intent of collective bargaining is to create teacher empowerment and shared power between teachers and school boards. • This process should be guided by good faith efforts between all parties involved. • School boards should not negotiate items that they have no legal authority to negotiate unless they have statutory authority to do so. • Any action taken by striking teachers that may disrupt educational opportunities for students will not likely receive court support. • Collective bargaining agreements should not impair teacher’s constitutionally protected rights and freedoms. The Instructional Program Chapter 11 School Law and Public Schools, 2008 Nathan L. Essex Control of Public Schools • The U.S. Constitution makes no reference to education. The Tenth Amendment places responsibility on each state to provide free public schools. • The legal authority for defining the curriculum of public schools is the state legislature, in a few states, it is the state legislature and the state board of education. • State v. Harworth established the state’s responsibility for public education. Compulsory Attendance • Every state requires Exceptions: children between • Wisconsin v. Yoder-the state’s certain ages, usually interest regarding universal and compulsory education is 6-16 years old to by no means absolute to the attend public, private exclusion or subordination of all other interests. The First or home school. Amendment prohibits state • The parent has an action that interferes with a parent’s right to control the obligation to the child religious upbringing of his or and state to ensure her child. that the child receives • Additionally, married students who are emancipated and are an appropriate no longer under their parents’ education. care. Attendance • Every state requires that children between 6 or 7 and 16 or 17 attend public, private or home school. • Parents who fail to get their children to school face criminal charges. • One exception to the attendance requirements are if a student has a religious belief that conflicts continuing education as in Wisconsin vs. Yoder. Yoder was Amish and stopped schooling after 8th grade. Another exception may be if a student is married and no longer under their parents’ care. • Students who are home schooled are required to meet standards for curriculum and instruction, length of instruction, and days in which instruction should be provided. Residence • Schools generally are required to educate students who reside within the districts boundaries. Residence is a student’s actual dwelling place. Domicile is where the student intends to remain indefinitely. A student’s domicile follows that of his or her legal guardian. • If the child is emancipated the domicile is determined by where the student intends to remain indefinitely. Curriculum • Curriculum standards, such as courses offered and achievement required, are based through state policy. Local schools may develop other standards as long as they do not contradict state requirements. • State legislation requires that certain subjects be included in school curricula such as American history. However, the specifics are left to be decided by local school districts. • Many schools fear teaching the Bible due to possible lawsuits. However, many Bible classes are being offered at public schools throughout the United States (see bibleinschools.net). Some guidelines for Bible use include teaching objectively and in a strict secular manner, instructing teachers on how and what to teach, and formulating policies for teachers, students, and parents to follow. No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 • There are four guiding principles: stronger accountability, increased flexibility, expanded options and improved instruction. • States must insure that students are tested in math and reading by 2005-06 school year. • By 2007, state must insure that students are tested at least one annual assessment in science in at least one grade level: 3-5, 6-9 and 10-12 . • States must set and then meet adequate yearly progress toward the goal of having children meet proficiency levels in core subjects by the year 2013-14. • Schools that fail to meet AYP face sanctions including offering supplemental services, transportation or restructuring. No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 • Districts have flexible use of funds and may transfer up to 50 percent of the funding they receive under the four major state grant programs (Teacher Quality state grants, Educational Technology state grants, Innovative Programs, and Safe and Drug-Free Schools) to any one of the program or to Title I. Grading and Academic Requirements • Courts generally are reluctant to interfere in cases involving academic matters as they feel educators are better equipped to evaluate students. • The state does however have the authority to set graduation requirements and check student competencies based on standardized tests. • Courts will typically support the schools in grade reduction in relation to student absences as long as the policies are reasonable and do not violate the state’s attendance statute. • School districts may use grade reduction for misbehavior as long as a relationship is shown between the misconduct and their classroom work. • Students are to be awarded a diploma if he or she has met the academic requirements for graduation. However, a student may be denied participation in the graduation ceremony if misconduct has occurred. Chapter 12 Group 2: Roni, Angelique, Gary, Josh & Jessica De Jure Segregation • Fourteenth Amendment – 1868 - provided for “equal protection under the laws” – 1896 - Plessy v. Ferguson - Supreme court upheld “equal but separate” – 1954 - Brown v. Board of Education - Supreme court struck down “separate but equal”. Brown v. Board of Education (Brown I) • Landmark turning point for desegregation • Stated that “Segregation...in public schools has a detrimental effect upon the colored children” • Provided NO remedy for segregation leading to Brown II Brown II • Supreme court rulings to ensure proper implementation of the ruling in Brown I • District courts were mandated to supervise the transition • School districts were to implement this ruling in “good faith and with all deliberate speed”. School issues along the way... • Racial Balances or Racial Quotas – some districts implemented a racial balance/quota requirement of 71%-29% on specific schools • One-Race Schools – certain schools were allowed to remain all or largely of one race due to concentration of minorities in parts of a city, but were under close scrutiny School issues along the way... • Remedial Altering of Attendance Zones – some school districts drastically altered districts and attendance zones to accomplish desegregation • Transportation of Students – situations varied greatly and there were no provisions for dealing with transportation Free Transfer and freedom of Choice Program • Many school districts adopted freedom of choice plans to avoid desegregation orders • Schools would rezone their districts AND provide that a student could request to be transfered back to their old school • Courts ruled that this perpetuated racial segregation De Jure & De Facto • De Jure Segregation – racial segregation derived from the enforcement of law • De Facto Segregation – present when the number of students enrolled in a school represent a racial or ethnic minority – this developed when no action was taken by the school district to require desegregation The Civil Rights Act of 1964 • specifically Title VI – prohibits discrimination on basis of race or color in programs that receive federal funds – to ensure the elimination of segregated schools it is illegal and will not be supported by the courts Chapter 13 Finance School Funding and Taxes The power of taxation for education resides with the state limited only by federal and state constitution. State constitutional provisions allow the legislature to make provisions for a system of public schools and to tax citizens for support of public education. The legislature has the inherent power not only to tax citizens for support of education but also to distribute funds for the operation of public schools. Tax distribution formulas are determined by the legislature based on the needs of various types of school districts and the ability of citizens in those districts to support public education. Legal Challenges to School Taxation Serrano v. Priest—Case that supported equal protection challenge regarding disparities in funding and that the quality of a child’s education should not be a function of the wealth of the district in which the child resides. Robinson v. Cahill—Case which decided that funding of public schools that rely heavily on local property taxes violated the state constitution as well as the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. Education Act of 1975—mission is to develop a thorough and efficient system of free public schools for all children irrespective of socioeconomic status or geographical location. San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez • Mexican American parents in Edgewood filed a class action equity suit on behalf of minority children throughout the state who were poor and resided in a school community that had a low property tax base. • The Supreme Court's decision held that a school-financing system based on local property taxes was not an unconstitutional violation of the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause. The majority opinion stated that the appellees did not sufficiently prove that education is a fundamental right or that the financing system was subject to strict scrutiny. • According to the Rodriguez ruling, a funding system based on local property tax that provides a minimum education to all students is constitutional. • Rodriguez case removed school finance litigation from the federal courts to the state courts. Post-Rodriguez Decisions • Following the Rodriguez decision, courts have been more inclined to focus their attention on educational quality as influenced by teacher quality, appropriate instructional materials, student achievement scores, and graduation rates as a means of addressing equal opportunity provision for students. • There is no uniformity among courts in their decisions regarding adequacy of funding for public schools. • State may collect tax funds from wealthy school districts and redistribute them to poorer districts to achieve a measure of equity. Post-Rodriguez Cases • Williams v. California- A landmark civil rights case which challenged the state to ensure quality learning conditions for millions of low-income students of color. The Williams settlement creates new standards for measuring whether schools have the basic conditions students need to learn such as textbooks, well-trained teachers and clean and safe school facilities. It also provides opportunities for communities to become involved and holds school officials accountable for showing how well schools are meeting these standards. • CFE v. State of New York—The court held that NYC children were not receiving the constitutionally mandated opportunity for a sound basic education and ruled that the governor and legislature had to ensure that every school in New York City has the resources necessary to provide the opportunity for a sound basic education. • Montoy v. State of Kansas—A state district court held that the state’s school finance plan violates the state constitution. The court found that the state failed to distribute resources equitably among children who are equally entitled to a suitable education. • Lewis E. v. Spagnolo— A class of schoolchildren residing in East St. Louis School District 189 challenges the adequacy of the education being provided to them in District 189 schools. The courts ruled that that questions relating to the quality of a public school education are for the legislature, not the courts, to decide. PROJECT Student discipline act DATE 23 JULY 2009 CLIENT GROUP 2 Purpose of Act To assure the protection of all students the constitutional right to due process and fundamental fairness Summary of Act The school may authorize an emergency exclusion, suspension, expulsion or mandatory reassignment of any pupil for conduct prohibited by the school’s policies. Important Rules: School board must establish rules and standards regarding student conduct . Schools must attempt to carry out said rules. Rules must be distributed to each student and his/her parent or guardian at the beginning of the school year. Procedures to be followed are outlined in detail for: Emergency Exclusion Short-term Suspension Long-term Suspension Expulsion Mandatory Reassignment Duty to Report Criminal Violations School authorities MUST notify law enforcement when they know or suspect that an act is a violation of the Nebraska Criminal Code (is illegal). School authorities will not be held liable as a result of any report unless: report was false and they knew it was false when reporting it the minor was in custody and the location where they were being held was dangerous and/or medical treatment was withheld Nebraska Student Discipline Act • An outline of the Act may be downloaded by clicking on the image to the right or at: • www.nde.state.ne.us/federalpr ograms/.../Student_Discipline_ Act.pdf Important Case Briefs EDAD859 Group 2 Veronica Dorsey, Jessica Fry, Gary Graham, David Graves, Angelique Gunderson Tinker v Des Moines Topic Educational Significance • Students’ First Amendment rights • • Students rights are protected under the First Amendment in as much as they do not disrupt the learning environment. Supreme Court Decision • • School administrators have the burden of proving that a particular demonstration • In a 7 to 2 decision, the U.S. Supreme of expression will be significantly Court determined the students wearing of disruptive. the armbands as a silent expression was • • Merely a desire to avoid the discomfort protected by the First Amendment. The and unpleasantness of an unpopular view school failed to demonstrate that the is not enough to justify the prohibition actions of the students would interfere of the expression. with appropriate school discipline. • • When making determinations on disciplinary policy that may bring into question a students First Amendment rights, other cases should be noted as examples (i.e. Bethel School District v. Fraser, Morse v. Frederick, and Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier) Bethel School Dist v Fraser Topic Educational Significance • The issue involved is whether or not students can say whatever they please • School officials may restrict freedom of with regard to the First Amendment expression where there is evidence of during a public school forum. material and substantial disruption, Ruling indecent or offensive speech, violation of • On additional appeal, the U.S. Supreme school rules, destruction of school Court found that while public students property, or disregard for authority. In have the right to advocate unpopular and each case, students must be provided controversial issues in school, that right minimal due process before any punitive must be balanced against the schools' action is taken. interest in teaching socially appropriate behavior. • Buttons, pamphlets, and other insignia • A public school may legitimately establish may be banned if the message standards of civil and mature conduct. The communicated is vulgar or obscene or Court observed that such standards would mock others based on race, origin, color, be difficult to convey in a school that sex, or religion. tolerated lewd, indecent and offensive speech and conduct that the student in this case exhibited. In conclusion, the school district's decision was upheld. New Jersey v TLO Topic Educational Significance • Unwarranted searches ad seizure of property • Be extremely cautious when accusing or searching students Ruling • The supreme court of New Jersey • Be aware of all rules and the fine print. reversed the appellate division’s ruling and ordered the evidence found in T.L.O’s • Document all actions when dealing with purse suppressed. behavior incidents • The court proceeded to hold that whenever an “official search violates constitutional rights the evidence may not • Make sure there is reasonable suspicion to be used in a criminal case; they deemed do the search and seizure initially the Choplick’s search was not reasonable. The mere possession of the cigarettes was not a violation of school rules; therefore a desire for evidence of smoking did not justify the search. Hazelwood v Kuhlmeier Topic Educational Significance • The high school principal prevented the school publication of Spectrum that • The Hazelwood ruling has important profiled three pregnant students and implications for student newspapers that quoted other students on reasons for are part of the school’s curriculum in that their parents’ divorce. The principal was restrictions may be placed on them based afraid that the identity of the three on reasonable grounds. Administrators students would be revealed, sexual may exercise greater authority in activity content was too graphic for monitoring student press but care should younger students, and parents of students be taken not to violate the student rights were not able to respond to comments in the process. This may exercise content- made by students. based control over student expression and Ruling use of restricting student speech. Some • Supreme Court reversed the ruling that states have passed laws guaranteeing that the principal did not violate students free non-forum newspapers, such as the speech rights by ordering certain material Hazelwood East High School newspaper, removed from an issue of the student are guaranteed the rights that the First newspaper. Students’ First Amendment Amendment describes. rights are not the same as those of adults due to the special characteristics of the school environment. Goss v Lopez Topic Educational Significance • Due process; Hearing or notice; • Due process is a right of everyone Procedure when suspending a according to the U.S. Constitution student for up to ten days. • Every student must be given notice Ruling (oral or written) of the misconduct, • The state law was found an explanation of unconstitutional both by the the evidence, and an opportunity federal district court and again by for a hearing. the Supreme Court. The case • Ensure every situation is handled determined that students facing carefully and the due process is suspensions of up to ten days or adhered to. less were entitled to: • Ensure school policies align with • 1. oral or written notice of state and federal law. charges • Note that suspensions of more than • 2. an explanation of evidence to be 10 days require more formal used against them, and procedures. • 3. an opportunity to present their side of the issue Lee v Wiseman Topic Educational Significance • Inclusion of clergy to offer prayer as part of public school ceremonies This case clarifies that clergy may not lead the student body in prayer at a school- Ruling • The U.S. Supreme Court held that "Including clergy who sponsored event. If administrators are offer prayers as part of an official public school approached about having clergy members graduation ceremony is forbidden by the Establishment offer a prayer at a school-sponsored Clause. event, suggest that they meet before the • Prayer exercises in elementary and secondary schools event to allow interested members to carry a particular risk of indirect coercion. The school district's supervision and control of a high school participate so that no one is excluded in graduation ceremony places subtle and indirect public their right to convene, and in protecting and peer pressure on attending students to stand as a those that might be opposed, such group or maintain respectful silence during the invocation and benediction... allowance would protect them in their • The petitioners' argument that the option of not right to be free from what may be attending the ceremony excuses any inducement or interpreted as coercion by this group. coercion in the ceremony itself is rejected. In this society, high school graduation is one of life's most significant occasions, and a student is not free to absent herself from the exercise in any real sense of the term 'voluntary'..." • The United States Supreme Court affirmed the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit judgment. Wisconsin v Yoder Topic Educational Significance • Compulsory Attendance • There are certain Laws exceptions to the Ruling compulsory attendance • The U.S. Supreme Court requirements. affirmed the decision in holding that the First Amendment prohibits state action that interferes with a parent’s right to control the religious upbring of their child. Stevens v Chesteen Topic Education significance • Does a brief absence from class • It is important for all teachers to constitute breach of duty of properly supervise student to the reasonable supervision. best of their ability. If a child is Ruling restricted from participating in • The court ruled in favor of physical education class that Chesteen noting that his absence in student must be well away from this situation does not breach his any activity that could cause injury duty of reasonable supervision. to them. Necessary precautions for Teenagers like Stevens often this situation should be in writing participate in “pick-up” football and included in the class syllabus to games that are completely avoid any legal troubles. One unsupervised. This case involved a possible solution is moving injured “touch” football game, and not a student to the library to finish a tackle game, thus making violent written assignment about nutrition collisions involving bystanders or exercise as a possible alternative unlikely. while their injury heals. Cox v. York County School Dist. No. 083. Topic Educational Significance • Termination of probationary teachers Ruling • Legal Significance for the • The school board ruled against Cox. The Administrator: district court favored Cox because the school district failed to provide Cox due • Follow state statutes process as required by law in deciding not regarding evaluation to renew her contract. The district court ordered the school district to reinstate procedures her. The school district appealed this decision. The Nebraska Supreme Court • Make sure to document all upheld this decision. They found that the observations both formal Board did not meet the statutory requirement that Cox be evaluated at and informal as well as least once per semester based on actual comments. classroom observations for an entire instructional period. • Follow district policy C. Patricia Skinner v. Ogallala Public School Topic Educational Significance: • School Liability • School districts will be held liable if the grounds and schools are not /Worker’s safe places even in “off” school Compensation hours. School districts should post warning signs and fix any Ruling areas that would pose a threat to • The Nebraska Supreme Court someone’s safety immediately if concluded that Skinner’s injuries did they are to not be held at least not arise in the course of her partially liable if an injury occurs employment by the District and the on school property. Nebraska Worker’s Compensation Act did not bar her from bringing this tort action against the District. The court supported the trial court decision that found Skinner to be an invitee. Mitchell Crider v. Bayard City Schools. Topic Education Significance: • Physical Therapy / Special Education • A free appropriate public education • Ruling requires that each handicapped child • The trial court dismissed the action. On review, be provided with personalized the court reversed the judgment of the trial court. With regard to the physical therapy instruction with support services to provider, the court held that the parents had, in permit the child to benefit fact, stated a cause of action. The court educationally from that instruction, explained that once it undertook the contract to which instruction and services must provide the child with services, the physical therapy provider had an obligation to provide be provided at public expense, must those services with reasonable care. As to the meet the state's educational school district, however, the court agreed with standards, must approximate the the trial court's conclusion that the school district's failure to monitor the physical therapy grade levels used in the state's provider was not actionable. regular education, and must comply with the child's individualized educational program. Norman v. Ogallala Public School. Topic However, the record contains extensive evidence, including both • Proper Instruction and testimony and photographs, demonstrating the pain that Safety Issues Christopher endured and the permanent scarring resulting from Ruling the burns. In addition to the pain • Damages Christopher endured, Christopher’s The trial courts award of $342,290.80 in parents incurred medical bills in the damages. School District Appealed: The amount of $44,614.54 as a direct school claims the damages are excessive result of Christopher’s injuries. The because Christopher has completely award of damages was not so recovered from his injuries, has no limitations on his range of motion or his excessive as to be the result of activities, and it is unlikely that he will passion, prejudice, mistake, or some incur future medical expenses. other means not apparent in the record. Norman v. Ogallala Public School. Cont’d Ruling Educational Significance • Proper instruction and Safety • Appeal from the District must take precedence over Court for Keith County: everything. The district must John P. Murphy, Judge. insure that the students and Affirmed staff are properly educated to any dangers of and activity. All safety precautions must be taken or the activity should not take place.
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