Presentation on theme: "Legal Issues – Chapter 14 Today – School officials and teachers must be aware of legal issues. Legal counsel is a must for all school districts. As a future."— Presentation transcript:
Legal Issues – Chapter 14 Today – School officials and teachers must be aware of legal issues. Legal counsel is a must for all school districts. As a future teacher, you need to know the basic laws regarding separation of church and state, freedom of speech, and student & teacher rights.
A legal document know as In Loco Parentis governed relationships between teachers and learners for decades. It stated that the school and the teacher acted “in the place of the parent.” Over the past 40 years, court decisions increasingly have extended to students the same kinds of legal protections as adults.
Is Education a Privilege or a Right? For most of its history, education was viewed as a privilege. School officials had great latitude in making and implementing school policies and rules. However, over time, literacy & education have become critical to individuals’ economic well-being and social advancement. Education became a substantial right & all citizens were entitled to it. Supreme Court Case – Tinker vs. Des Moines (1969) Students wore black arm bands to protest the Vietnam war & were suspended. The court ruled individuals have a property right to the educational services the school provides.
Due Process Outlined in the 14 th Amendment to the Constitution. Certain procedures must be followed if thought a citizen’s rights might be in jeopardy. a.Liberty rights – decisions affecting kids cannot be arbitrary. b.Property rights – Courts ruled that individuals have a property right to an education need for consistent, clear rules; hearing; witnesses revealed; substantial evidence provided. Suspensions and expulsions must follow due process provisions.
Freedom of Expression 1 st Amendment – In general, this amend. does not protect behaviors of learners who engage in threats of violence. Can punish for lewd or offensive speech Support of school dress codes if guidelines are provided for health & reduced discipline. Hairstyles are seen as an invasion of privacy and often not upheld by the courts.
Freedom of Conscience Courts have generally upheld that : Schools can use books that have a legitimate educational purpose. Learners can refuse to salute the flag, stand, or leave the room while a flag ceremony is conducted. (religious convictions) children should attend required sex ed. classes as long as parents can pull their kids. children may not have to participate in dance, watch a certain movie, or participate in gym class if there is a religious objection.
Freedom from Unreasonable Search and Seizure – 4 th Amendment. Probable Cause – Evidence is strong Intrusiveness – Contact with the individual’s body – age & gender A purse or book-bag – high degree of privacy. Strip searches illegal School lockers can be searched. School harassment & bullying must be addressed – Safety & order is a must!
Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act - 1974 Parents have a right to access their children’s school records – kids over 18 can also do this. Access to records is restricted to school personnel & those who have a “legitimate educational interest.” Be careful what you place in a student’s file – Parents can challenge material & seek legal action if they see inaccuracies. Handle student papers & grades carefully. Do not openly discuss a student’s weaknesses.
Teacher Rights & Obligations Courts have ruled in favor of teachers when school boards tried to prescribe how they will teach and what prescribed materials they will teach with. You have a right to address controversial issues that are relevant to what you are teaching.
Tenure & Academic Freedom Tenured Teachers Are Free to: Choose subject Matter Select Instructional Materials. Assign Grades. However, the materials or methods you select must not be banned by clear school-district regulations, be age appropriate & relevant, not disrupt the learning process, or cause a breakdown in discipline.
Usual Causes for Teacher Dismissal (Due Process) Incompetence Insubordination Inappropriate Conduct Immorality Neglect of duty Cruelty Willful Misconduct Criminal conduct Too little or too much Discipline Negligence: Misfeasance – Nonfeasance - Malfeasance
Misfeasance – Teacher acts unwisely or without taking proper safeguards. (Allows a child to do something that could be considered dangerous) Nonfeasance – Teacher fails to act where there is a duty to do so. (Teacher is away from area of responsibility & someone gets hurt verbally or injured) Malfeasance – Actions taken to harm a student. (shaking, slapping, punching)
Employment Terms Teaching Contracts: Contracts must be written. Contracts must be approved by the school board. Length of school day – class load – sick days – salaries – grievance. Yearly Contract: Good for one year. Teacher may be dismissed without explanation (Probationary Teacher)
Employment Terms – con’t Breach Of Contract: Failure to perform. Can result in professional and/or monetary consequences. Tenure: Puts burden of proof for dismissal on the school district. Usually granted after 3 - 5 years at the probationary level.