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School Law Do you know your rights & responsibilities as a teacher?

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Presentation on theme: "School Law Do you know your rights & responsibilities as a teacher?"— Presentation transcript:

1 School Law Do you know your rights & responsibilities as a teacher?

2 Teachers’ Rights & Responsibilities Employment Academic Freedom Copy Rights Teacher Liability Child Abuse Teachers’ Private Lives

3 Teacher Rights & Responsibilities Employment – Licensure State evaluates your credentials – Bachelor’s degree – accredited college/university Screened for felony arrest, history of abusing/molesting children Competency Tests – Controversial, but have held up in court – Contracts Teaching contract – legal employment agreement between you and a local school board – Cannot discriminate School board can be sued if they break contract w/out due cause You can loose your certificate if you breach your contract READ IT CAREFULLY

4 EMPLOYMENT Organizations – National Education Association (NEA) or American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Collective Bargaining – Occurs when a local chapter negotiates with a school district over the rights & responsibilities – Most states – law – largest organization – final agreement – applies to all teachers – Teachers may file a grievance – formal complaint against an employer alleging unsatisfactory working conditions Cannot be fired Professional organization – legal counsel – Political

5 Employment Tenure – Legal safeguard that provides job security by preventing teacher dismissal without due cause – Designed to protect teachers from political or personal abuse – Most districts require probationary period before tenure is granted – 3 years – Can be dismissed: incompetence, immoral behavior, insubordination or unprofessional conduct – Due process must be observed, when charges of filed A written description, access to evidence & names of witnesses, right to representation, school board decision based on finding of hearing, written record of hearing and right to appeal

6 Employment Dismissal – Yearly contract until you are tenured – Reduction in force Budget cuts, declining student numbers, course/program cancellations Typically dismissed teachers with least seniority Can involve tenure and nontenure teachers – Dishonesty on job application – Reduction in job force families-flee-coal-country.html families-flee-coal-country.html

7 Academic Freedom Refers to your right to choose both content & teaching methods based on your professional judgment 1 st Amendment – protects freedom of speech – So when do you as a teacher go to far??

8 Academic Freedom State & District Curriculum frameworks – guides Free to teach topics that you see fit within each Discipline or even dismissed Courts consider the following – Goal in discussing the topic – Age of students involved – Relevance of materials – Quality of questioned material/method – Existence of policies related to issues

9 Academic Freedom Public Employee vs. Private Citizen Clear goals, justify them Unsure – check with principal or school administrator Grading – Consistent – Evidence

10 Copyright Laws Copyright laws - Federal laws designed to protect the intellectual property of authors Fair use guidelines – policies that specify legitimate needs of teachers & learners Examples of what you can and cannot do – Software – back one only 1 – Record something on television – show it within 10 days – Cannot charge students more than what it is worth – Government document – you can print as many as you want

11 Teacher Liability

12 Legally responsible for the safety of students In loco parentis – “in place of the parents” Negligence – a teacher’s or other school employee’s failure to exercise sufficient care in protecting students from injury Parent can and will sue Courts consider: – Reasonable attempt to anticipate dangerous situations – Proper precautions & establish rules & procedures to prevent injuries – Warn students of possible dangerous situations – Provide proper supervision

13 Teacher Liability Field trips – parent consent form Consider – ages & developmental levels Some classes & ages & students = require more supervision Accidents can and do happen – liability insurance

14 Child Abuse What do you have to do when you suspect it?

15 Child Abuse All 50 states & DC have laws requiring educators to report suspected child abuse Protected by legal action if you acted in “good faith” & without “malice” Report it to administration/counselors All schools have procedures put in place

16 Teachers’ Private Life How private is your life outside of school?

17 Teachers’ Private Lives You do more than teach, you are a ROLE MODEL – Scrutinized more Clear answers do not exist – Consider the community in which you live and teach? – Court cases Notoriety – the extent to which a teacher’s behavior becomes known as controversial. Classroom – is not yours – it is public – therefore no illegal activity

18 Religion In Schools Can there be prayer in schools?? Football games?? Graduation??

19 Religion and the Law 1 st Amendment Prayer in Schools – Sanctioned prayer and religious symbols – violate separation of church and state – Student/parent led – not a violation, but still may be a violation Religious Clubs/Organizations – Schools must allow Religion in the Curriculum – only When a clear purpose is presented

20 Students’ Rights & Responsibilities Do you know your rights and responsibilities as a student?? Is corporal punishment still legal?? Can I give your grades out to anyone??

21 Students’ Rights & Responsibilities Freedom of speech Freedom from sexual harassment Permissible search & seizure Records & privacy Corporal Punishment Rights in disciplinary actions Students with AIDS

22 Freedom of Speech Students have the right to free speech in schools – when it doesn’t interfere with learning Examples from the book

23 Freedom of Speech What would happen if you created a mock MySpace profile for your principal and posted outrageous & unbelievable statements??

24 Freedom of Speech Cyberbullying – What can schools do?? - not clear – Teachers – take a stand in your class – that it is unacceptable behavior Sexting – Students send sexual photos, videos from one cell phone to another. – 5% - 20% – Form of cyberbullying – Schools – interested in keeping children from harm, but hesitant to become involved in personal matters – Pic of person under 18 – Child pornography

25 Freedom of Speech Dress codes – Expression of who you are – 1 st Amendment protected?? - Complex answer – Clothes – interfere with the learning?? Harmful to other students?? School Uniforms – Courts – rule in favor of - Better student behavior

26 Sexual Harassment What is sexual harassment?

27 Sexual Harassment Common on many school campuses Parents – courts In GA, parents of 5 th grader sue the school district – they won Teachers – monitor student actions (classroom & hallways) Clearly communicate that it will not be tolerated

28 Can you identify…… Teachers’ Rights & Responsibilities Students’ Rights & Responsibilities Question: Can I legally search your property (purse, gym bag)??? Locker?

29 Permissible Search & Seizure 4 th Amendment – protects citizens from unlawful search & seizure & warrants are required Educators – dilemmas Students – rights, however due to drug/alcohol use & violence – administrators feel compelled to do something – T.L.O. – denied smoking – teacher opened purse – found cigs, then emptied purse Courts – legal – certain problem – schools – probable cause – Metal detectors – nonintrusive – Strip searches – illegal (generally) Example: girl – dog, students – money – Lockers – school property – reasonable cause Texas – monitoring chips in name tags??

30 What is FERPA??

31 Student Records & Privacy Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA), Buckley Amendment – federal act that makes school records accessible to students & their parents – Inform parents of their rights regarding their child records – Provide parents access to their child’s records – Procedures that allow parent to challenge & possibly amend information – Protect parents for disclosure of information to third parties

32 Corporal Punishment The use of physical, punitive disciplinary actions to correct student misbehavior Highly controversial Prohibited in 30 states & DC Common in the South Public-Schools.pdf Public-Schools.pdf

33 Corporal Punishment Legal guidelines suggest: Psychologists disapprove – Negative side effects: model of aggression – More effective alternatives

34 Disciplinary Actions 14 th Amendment – no “state shall deprive any person of life, liberty or property with out due process of law” Due process – key element in disciplinary matters Students – right to education – limiting that right – due process must be followed No expulsion or suspended 10 or less, = administration free to discipline as they see fit – Longer – procedures are detailed & formal

35 Disciplinary Actions & Students with Exceptionalities Provided with legal safeguards under IDEA If the student’s behavior was not a manifestation of their disability – discipline same as other students – however, school has to provide educational services in an alternative placement Special circumstances – student can be removed up to 45 day – regardless if it was a manifestation of disability

36 Students with AIDS School cannot discriminate against individuals

37 Questions

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