The Educator's Guide to Texas School Law: Seventh Edition / Edition 7

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Much has changed in the area of school law since the first edition of The Educator's Guide written by Frank Kemerer was published in 1986. In this new seventh edition, the authors have streamlined the discussion by pruning older material and weaving in new developments. The result is an authoritative source on all major dimensions of Texas school law that is both well integrated and easy to read.

Intended for Texas school personnel, school board members, interested attorneys, and taxpayers, the seventh edition explains what the law is and what the implications are for effective school operations. It is designed to help professional educators avoid expensive and time-consuming lawsuits by taking effective preventive action. It is an especially valuable resource for school law courses and staff development sessions.

The seventh edition begins with a review of the legal structure of the Texas school system. Successive chapters address attendance and the instructional program, the education of children with special needs, employment and personnel, expression and associational rights, the role of religion in public schools, student discipline, open meetings and records, privacy, search and seizure, and legal liability under both federal and Texas law. In addition to state law, the book addresses the growing role of the federal government in school operation through such major federal legislation as the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and the No Child Left Behind Act.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780292722934
  • Publisher: University of Texas Press
  • Publication date: 8/1/2010
  • Edition number: 7
  • Pages: 510
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

JIM WALSH is an attorney with the law firm of Walsh, Anderson, Brown, Aldridge, and Gallegos, P.C., in Austin and also managing editor of the Texas School Administrators’ Legal Digest.

FRANK KEMERER is Regents Professor Emeritus at the University of North Texas and currently Professor-in-Residence in the School of Law and the School of Leadership and Education Sciences at the University of San Diego.

LAURIE MANIOTIS is former coeditor of the Texas School Administrators’ Legal Digest and currently an attorney in private practice in Fort Worth.

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Table of Contents


1. An Overview of Education Law, Texas Schools, and Parent Rights
Sources of Law
Constitutional Law
Statutory Law
Administrative Law
Judicial Law
The Structure and Governance of the Texas School System
Texas Legislature
State Board of Education and the Texas Education Agency
Local School Districts
Charter Schools
Private Schools
School Administrators
District and Campus-Level Decision-Making
How the U.S. Constitution and Federal Government Affect Texas Schools
Key Provisions of the U.S. Constitution
Important Federal Statutes
School Finance
Parent Rights
Rights within Public Schools
Choosing Private Schools
Educating Children at Home
2. Student Attendance and the Instructional Program
Impermissible Discrimination
Residency, Guardianship, and the Right to Attend a District's Schools
The Compulsory School Attendance Law
Kindergarten and Prekindergarten Programs
Maintaining a Safe School Environment
The Instructional Program
The Required Curriculum
Student Assessment
School District Accountability
The Effect of the No Child Left Behind Act
Removal of Objectionable Library and Study Materials
Technology at School: Computers, the Internet, and Cell Phones
The Federal Copyright Law
Extracurricular Activities and the UIL
Addressing the Needs of Special Groups
At-Risk Children
Bilingual Children
Gifted Children
Abused and Neglected Children
3. Special Education
The Jargon of Special Education
Federal Legislation
Child Find
Response to Intervention (RtI)
ARD Committee
Individualized Education Program
General Curriculum
NCLB and Statewide Assessments
Least Restrictive Environment
Procedural Safeguards
Attorneys' Fees
Related Services
Extended School Year Services
Unilateral Placements
Private-School Children
Discipline of Students with Disabilities
Stay Put
Change of Placement
Ten Days
Manifestation Determinations
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
4. The Employment Relationship
Constitutional Issues
Due Process of Law
How Much Process Is Due?
Types of Employment Arrangements
At-Will Employment
Non-Chapter 21 Contracts
Probationary Contracts
Term Contracts
Continuing Contracts
Third-Party Independent Contract Educators and Retire/Rehire
Selection of Staff
Certification and the Role of SBEC
Nondiscrimination Laws
Protected Activity
The Hiring Process
Criminal Records
The Impact of NCLB
Restrictions on Employment
Ending the Relationship
At-Will Employees
Non-Chapter 21 Contracts
Probationary Contracts
Term Contracts
Contract Nonrenewal
Contract Termination
Suspension without Pay
Professional Capacity
Dual-Assignment Contracts
Reduction in Force
Continuing Contracts
The Independent Hearing System
A Few Final Thoughts on "Good Cause"
Constructive Discharge
5. Personnel Issues
The Constitutional Issues
Same Professional Capacity
Compensation Issues
Duties and Schedule
The Commissioner's Jurisdiction
Reassignment of the Superintendent
Compensation Disputes
Teacher Appraisal
Employment Benefits
Planning and Preparation Period
Duty-Free Lunch
Personal Leave
Health Insurance
Assault Leave
Teacher Retirement
Temporary Disability Leave
Family and Medical Leave Act
Miscellaneous Leave Policies
Wage and Hour Requirements
Workers' Compensation and Unemployment Compensation
Grievances and the Role of Employee Organizations
Employee Grievances: A Little History
Hearing Employee Grievances
The Role of Employee Organizations
Collective Bargaining on the National Scene
The Law in Texas
6. Expression and Associational Rights
Educator Rights of Expression
Expression outside the School
Expression within the School
Electronic Communication
Academic Freedom
Texas Whistle Blower Act
Educator Freedom of Association
Student Rights of Expression
Communication among Students on Campus
School-Sponsored Student Publications
Non-School-Sponsored Student Publications and Materials
Electronic Communication
Student Freedom of Association
7. Religion in the Schools
Legal Framework
No Government Establishment of Religion
Free Exercise of Religion
Contemporary Issues
The Pledge of Allegiance
School Prayer
School-Sponsored or Employee-Led Prayer
Silent Meditation
Invocations, Benedictions, and Religious Speeches at Graduation
Baccalaureate Ceremonies
Student-Initiated Prayer at School, Extracurricular Activities, and Athletic Events
Teaching Creation-Science
Secular Humanism and Pagan Religion
Religion in Classrooms, Choir Programs, and Holiday Observances
Teaching about Religion
Student Papers and Presentations on Religious Topics
Choir Programs
Holiday Observances
Clergy in the Schools
Distribution of Religious Literature
Wearing Religious Symbols
Student Religious Groups Meeting on Campus
Religious Exemptions
Assistance to Sectarian Private Schools
8. Student Discipline
Constitutional Concerns: Due Process
Other Constitutional Issues
Protected Areas
Void for Vagueness
Chapter 37: An Overview
Student Code of Conduct
Teacher-Initiated Removal
Removal to a DAEP
Mandatory Placements
Discretionary Placements
Life in a DAEP
Emergency Actions
Interaction with Law Enforcement
Other Disciplinary Practices
Corporal Punishment
Suspension from Extracurricular Activities
9. Privacy Issues: Community, Educators, Students
The Legal Framework
The U.S. Constitution
Federal Statutes
State Law
The Texas Open Meetings and Public Information Acts
Texas Open Meetings Act
Meetings and Quorums
Emergency Meetings
Closed Sessions
Tape Recordings and Certified Agendas
Meetings by Telephone and Video Conference Call
Internet Broadcast
Criminal Provisions
Texas Public Information Act
Items That Must Be Disclosed
Personal Information
Criminal History Information, Witness Statements, and Investigative Reports
Inter or Intraagency Memoranda
Student Records
Miscellaneous Provisions
Production of Records
Educator Privacy Rights
Lifestyle Issues
Employee Drug Testing
Personnel Records and Employee References
Search of School Computer Files
Search of File Cabinets
Student Privacy Rights
Student Personal Privacy
Student Records
Parent Rights
Education Records
Disclosure of Records
Child Custody Issues
Student Dress and Grooming
Student Search and Seizure
Standards for Student Searches
Strip Searches
Use of Magnetometers, Metal Detectors, and Breathalyzers
Locker and Desk Searches
Search of Cell Phone
Use of Sniffer Dogs to Conduct Searches
Student Drug Testing
10. Legal Liability
Identifying Areas of Legal Liability
State Torts
School District Immunity
Sovereign Immunity and Contract Cases
Qualified Immunity for Public School Professional Employees
The Special Case of Corporal Punishment and Physical Force
Law and the School Counselor
Federal Civil Rights Liability
Governmental Liability
Personal Injuries and the Constitution
A Federally Protected Right
The District Itself Is Responsible
More Than Negligence
A New Theory
Individual Liability
Liability under Federal Statutory Law

A. How to Find and Read a Court Case
B. Glossary of Legal Terminology
C. Reference Sources

Index of Cases
Index of Topics

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