1 Ch 3 Legal Issues Affecting Teachers The relationship Between Law & EducationConstitutional Provisions – does not mention educationStates responsible for education codeFederal government is involved in disputesSeveral Layers – depends on type of caseVery different from state to state
2 Sources of Laws Relating to Education Written Constitution - + amendmentsHighest legal standard, intent is problemStatue Law – State Education Code & State certification Requirements – electedAdministrative Law – operationalize statues, interpret rules, policies, procedures, and regulations at the local levelCourt-Decision Law – the ultimate check of schools – applies constitutional law to statues and administrative law,
3 Teacher Certification Each state has own requirementsMay accept other states certificationIssued by the stateMust have certificate to accept contractMust stay current after acceptingWithout a certificate a teacher can be considered a volunteer an not be paid in monetary units.
4 Gaining EmploymentPre-EmploymentState and Federal laws govern process used in screening applicants for positions.Questions asked of applicants must have a demonstrated relationship to the job.Most states have laws that restrict what school personnel can ask teacher candidates during interviews.
5 Some laws require that these questions not be asked of applicant. Marital status, Pregnancy, Age, Religious preferences, Sex, Race, National origin, Color, Presence of handicap.Some laws apply to public as well as private educational institutions.
6 Title VII of Civil rights Act 1964 It promotes equal opportunity in employment through administrative and judicial enforcement of the federal civil rights.(http://www.eeoc.gov/overview.html)
7 Title VII of Civil rights Act 1964 It promotes equal opportunity in employment through administrative and judicial enforcement of the federal civil rights.(http://www.eeoc.gov/overview.html)
8 Others apply only to public intuitions. This is a complex area of the law.Example:A private religious school can legally give preference to individuals with a particular religious affiliation if such affiliation is required for school to fulfill its mission statement.Key questions asked by employers:
9 Teacher Contracts Most important document Sets responsibilities Sign only oneMust be written, approved by the boardBenefits and bonuses - Extra duty
10 Breaking Contract?Good for only one year at a timeTeacher may be dismissed without explanationOften, part of probation
11 Tenure and Continuing Employment “Tenure gives teachers employment rights that cannot be altered at the whim of school officials, school must proveTenure came about to protect teachers from groups who wish to fire them because of differences in what should be taught in the classroom.supposed to keep good teachers in the same school, granted after 3 years
12 Do Tenure programs keep bad teachers in school systems also? A study done in 1994 by the New York State School Boards Association found that it takes 455 days and $176,870 on average for a school board to fire a teacher in that state, but $317,000 if the teacher appeals.
13 6 Ways Teachers Could Lose Their Jobs Incompetence: includes lack of knowledge, failure to adapt to new teaching methods, violation of school rules, persistent negligenceIncapacity: any physical or mental condition that keeps a teacher from performing assigned dutiesAn article in the ERIC Clearinghouse on Education cites the three main reasons for teacher dismissal as immorality, incompetence, and insubordination. ERIC_NO: ED TITLE: Good Cause Basis for Dismissal of Education Employees. AUTHOR: Landauer, W. Lance; And Others PUBLICATION_DATE: 1983
14 Insubordination: willful violation of reasonable school rules and policies Conduct: insulting fellow teachers, taking time off without permission, drinking to excess, and even telling wrestlers to lie about their weights when registering for meets
15 Immorality: criminal activity, sexual misconduct, drug use, and dishonesty Other Causes: intemperance, neglect of duty, cruelty, and willful misconductMust be given Due Process!!!
16 Professional Rights & Responsibilities Reporting Child AbuseA teacher is in a position, where they can spot young people who have been abused.All 50 states and the District of Columbia have laws that make mandatory the reporting of suspected instances of child abuse.
17 As a result of a teacher being in the position of spotting child abuse, they are designated “mandatory reporters.”Teachers have a legal obligation to report any given instance of suspected child abuse.
18 If any suspected cases are NOT reported, teacher may face up to six months in jail, and/or a $1,000 fine.Teachers need not to fear retribution as a consequence of reporting potential child abuse.All states provide some type of protection from lawsuits for reports of child abuse.
19 Many states include a provision to pay for an attorney for a suit filed against of teacher for reporting suspected child abuse.In most cases of reporting child abuse, the teacher reporting the case will not have his/her name given out to the public.
20 Teachers may not be disciplined by employer for reporting suspected child abuse, unless it is reported for malicious reasons.According to the prevent child abuse website, each year over 3,000,000 cases of child abuse are reported.
21 Academic FreedomThe idea is that teachers and learners should be able to inquire about any topic, even one that its highly controversial.Courts generally support the teacher’s rights
22 The School board has the right to prohibit certain texts or materials. Not all look at academic freedom as a positive thingWho decides?Birth control, religious beliefs, army recruiter
23 Grading Courts find teachers qualified to assess grades. Courts are reluctant to overturn teachers grading decisions.To avoid “arbitrary grading”:Have clear grading scale.Keep accurate records.Do not lower grades as a punishment for nonacademic misbehavior
24 Teachers’ Tort Liability Tort—civil wrongdoing, not criminalInvolve an injury against another person that resulted from a breach of legal duty.Torts are settled with some kind of awardTorts against teachers have been increasing in numbersTort laws are based on common law and the concept of fault or intent.
25 In tort cases, finding do not need to prove fault “beyond a reasonable doubt”. Questions that are relevant to injury-related suits against teachers include:Did the teacher have a duty of care under the law to avoid the injury?If so, was the duty breached?If a breach of legal duty occurred, was it the proximate cause of the injury.
26 Use of Force in Discipline INGRAHAM V. WRIGHT (1977) can use reasonable but not excessive forceWHAT IS REASONABLE FORCE?HOW SEVERE, AGE, GENDER, PUNISHER’S SIZE, ATTITUDE
27 STATE AND LOCAL REGULATIONS – decided by locals STRICT GUIDELINESLEGAL ACTION – Not protected
28 What is Negligence?Negligence is the failure to use reasonable care to prevent harm from coming to someone.Someone can be found guilty of negligence without intending to inflict harm.Gross negligence is an act in reckless disregard of the consequences affecting the life or property of another
29 3 Kinds of NegligenceMisfeasance- a teacher acts unwisely or without taking proper safeguards.Nonfeasance- a failure to act, by being away from their assigned area.Malfeasance- behavior that is undertaken deliberately and knowingly to harm another.
30 How to Protect Yourself Have a basic understanding of what creates liabilityForesee and prevent the conditions that give rise to injuryKeep informed of specific ways to avoid liability and make operations saferJoin groups promoting safety
31 Malpractice Conditions that might lead to a malpractice suit: A failure to bring achievement up to satisfactory levelsAn injury to the development of the learnerA failure to act to protect a seriously threatened learner
32 Courts Say In The Matter The courts say there are other factors than teachers that affect achievement levels:Home backgroundsMotivational levelsAppropriate materials and resources provided
33 Slander & Libel Does not have to be physical harm False statements that expose a student to contempt, ridicule, or disgrace may harmSpoken called ______, written called _____Care in writing comments, only observations – this person is a thiefIf malicious intent?
34 Sexual Harassment More litigations that ever Care in working with learners outside of class or schoolSchool can be held if notifiedAlso can be held for learner to learner caseCan not ignore, anymore
35 Teachers’ Civil Rights In the past there has been many restrictions on teachers’ lives away from school.Today, there are few restrictions. There have been court cases centered on the personal rights of teachers.Some people believe that teachers are role models, so they have a responsibility to behave better than “typical” citizens
36 Teachers’ Civil Rights The courts have ruled that teachers can not be punished for exercising their constitutional rights.when teachers have been dismissed because of actions in their personal lives, the school district had to present convincing evidence that the behavior was having a negative impact on their performance in the classroom.
37 Teachers’ Civil Rights One exception to teachers’ rights is when they work in a religious setting.The church that controls the school has “the right to discriminate on the basis of marital status, family/parental status, sexual orientation, race, or religion”
38 Freedom of Association Can/should schools be allowed to dismiss teachers if they belong to radical organizations?-political-relation to a school board member
39 Why and Why Not? If a teacher supports illegal activities If a teacher tries to indoctrinate studentsIf the teacher’s support is disruptiveCourts’ rulings on freedom of speech even in the workplace
40 SummaryTeachers should not be dismissed for their support of political organizations or school board members as long asthey do not manipulate students,seriously disrupt the teaching process,or support illegal action.
41 Freedom of ConscienceThe separation of church and state is the main concern in this subject, which leads to problems.Teachers may have different religious backgrounds, and express to students different views.Teachers who share their views are frowned upon by society.
42 What do Teachers Think? Many court cases regarding teacher dress code! When the teachers fail to follow the dress code, what happens?Teachers have taken these issues to courtDo you think this is appropriate?
43 Court Rulings Teacher rights The court usually rules in favor of the teachers unless the teacher can prove unreasonable regulationGrooming standards negatively affect matters associated with racial pride or academic freedom.
44 Teacher Dress Codes Teachers have to follow dress codes too. Who decides the teacher dress code?Who enforces the teacher dress code?Examples of teacher dress codes…Jeans only on Friday - Does this fringe on the rights of the teachers?
45 Lifestyle IssuesSexual orientationUnmarried cohabitation - Thompson vs. Southwest School District, 1980.AdulteryUse of vulgar languageEven, breast feeding in schoolSexual orientation not enough to dismissHowever, if public flaunting of unconventional sexual conduct?Situation specific – courts size, sophistication, community values, reactions, & notoriety
46 IMMORAL CONDUCT When relations with learners, always dismissal Courts have acted in support of dismissal decisions.Courts look at the teacher’s behavior and how it influenced both his/her standing in the community. If their actions have outraged the community it will lead to dismissal.Teachers that have been involved with other adults are not as likely to be dismissed.
47 Other ProblemsCourts have ruled that teachers do have the right to take leave for religious holidays, which they may practice as long as their absence does not cause hardship.Teachers views may not be right to others.Should school be a place where children are taught religious morals?
48 Criminal ConductConviction or even indictment can be grounds for dismissalOften must reveal any convictionsVaries widely from place to place (shoplifting)preponderance of evidence is all that is neededRevocation of certificate not as strict