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A Teacher's Pocket Guide to School Law / Edition 2

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School Law and the Public Schools by Nathan L. Essex gives educators and policy makers at all levels practical, easy-to-read, relevant information on the historical and contemporary legal issues affecting the organization and administration of schools in the United States. Virtually every topic of concern to today’s educators is covered in a practical, easy-to-read organization and style that’s accessible even to those with little or no knowledge of the legal issues affecting public schools. Revised chapters in this new Sixth Edition include recent rulings on religion in public schools, social media, Facebook and Twitter challenges, virtual charter schools, administrators’ authority at bus stops, legal aspects of teachers and administrators’ evaluation, teacher performance and misconduct, 504 Rehabilitation plans, the McKinney-Vento Homeless Act, violence and tragedy in U.S. schools, procedures for evaluating and responding to threats, natural disasters and school safety, proposed changes to No Child Left Behind by the White House, use of chaperones for field trips, and new application exercises at the end of each chapter.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"I have been teaching law for seven years, and [A Teacher's Pocket Guide to School Law] is the most 'user-friendly' presentation of law that I have used." -- Leslie Jones Nicholls State University

"This textbook provides a very succinct review of school law and how important issues in schools have historically as well as currently been decided. Students find it easy to find information for review or to expand their knowledge of school law." -- Sharron Lawrence, Weatherford College

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780135094181
  • Publisher: Pearson
  • Publication date: 2/5/2010
  • Series: Alternative eText Formats Series
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 555,686
  • Product dimensions: 4.00 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Nathan L. Essex is professor of Educational Law and Leadership at the University of Memphis and President of Southwest Tennessee Community College. He received the B.S. degree in English at Alabama A&M University, the M.S. degree in Educational Administration at Jacksonville State University and the Ph.D. degree in Administration and Planning at The University of Alabama.

He has held public school teaching and administrative positions prior to completing the doctorate. Essex’s interests include law, educational policy and personnel administration. He has served as consultant for more than 100 school districts and numerous educational agencies. He served as a policy consultant with the Alabama State Department of Education for twelve years and received numerous awards in recognition of his contributions in the field of education. He is the recipient of the Truman M. Pierce Award for Educational Leadership and outstanding contributions which advanced the direction of education in the state of Alabama, the Academic Excellence Award in recognition of professional achievement and academic excellence in the research, service, and teaching of education, Capstone College of Education Society, The University of Alabama; Teaching Excellence Award; Distinguished Service Award—Who’s Who in the State of Tennessee, The University of Memphis Distinguished Administrator of the Year 1995-96, “Educator on the Move,” The University of Memphis; Phi Delta Kappa, the President’s award for leadership and service to the community, Youth Services, Inc.; Who’s Who in Corporate Memphis, Grace Magazine; and, President Bush’s Community Service Award, just to name a few. Essex has published numerous articles, book chapters and newsletters on legal issues. Many of his works appear in The Administrator’s Notebook, The Horizon, ERS Spectrum, Principal Journal, Compensation Review, The Clearinghouse, The American School Board Journal, American Management Association, Community College Review, Education and Law, and many other professional journals. Essex has authored a law textbook entitled 200 Legal Questions for Educators which was published by Corwin. Essex has also published a textbook for public school teachers entitled, Pocket Guide to School Law and a booklet on No Child Left Behind which was published by Allyn & Bacon. He is highly sought by educators at all levels to share his knowledge and expertise regarding legal and policy issues that impact educational organizations.

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Table of Contents

Table of Contents:

List of Cases xvi

Preface xxi

About the Author xxvii

Introduction xxviii


Control of Public Schools 1

State and Local Control of Education 1

State Board of Education 2

Local Control of Public Schools 3

Discretionary Powers 5

School Administrator’s Role 5

Teachers as Employees of Local School Boards 5

School District Rules and Regulations 6

School Board Meetings 6

Guides: Control of Public Schools 6

Practical Tips 7

Endnotes 8


Instruction and Curriculum Standards 9

Academic Issues 9

Curriculum Standards 9

No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 10

Public School Choice 10

Putting Reading First 11

Summary and Implications 11

NCLB Subgroups 14

Federal Data Requirements for Report Cards Under No Child Left Behind 14

Vouchers 14 Charter Schools 15

Guides: Instructional Program 18

Intellectual Property and Fair Use 18

Copying Computer Software 19

Grading and Academic Requirements 20

Student Testing 21

Grading 21

Grade Reduction for Absences 21

Grade Reduction for Unexcused Absences 22

Grade Reduction for Academic Misconduct 22

Physical Punishment for Poor Academic Performance 23

Guides: Grading and Academic Requirements 23

Educational Malpractice 24

Guides: Educational Malpractice 25

Practical Tips 26

Endnotes 27


Religion and Public Schools 28

Prayer, Bible Reading, and Religious Symbols 28

School-Sponsored Prayer 29

Silent Prayer and Meditation 30

Prayer at School Events 30

School-Sponsored Bible Reading 32

Religious Symbols 33

Religious Displays 33

Ten Commandments 34

Prayer at School Board Meetings 34

Guides: Prayer and Bible Use in School 35

Religious Activities and Holiday Programs 35

Distribution of Religious Materials 36

Pledge of Allegiance 37

Guides: Religious Activities 38

Practical Tips 39

Endnotes 40

CHAPTER 4 Students, the Law, and Public Schools 41

Freedom of Expression 42

The Tinker Case 42

Viewpoint Discrimination 44

Guides: Freedom of Expression 44

Protests and Demonstrations 45

Guides: Protests and Demonstrations 45

School-Sponsored Newspapers 46

Guides: Student Newspapers 47

Censorship 48

Guides: Censorship 48

Dress and Appearance 49

Health and Safety Issues 50

Controversial Slogans 50

Guides: Dress and Appearance 51

Search and Seizure 51

Reasonable Suspicion 52

Student Desks 53

Student Lockers 53

Book Bags 54

Automobiles 54

Personal Searches 55

Use of Canines 56

Guides: Search and Seizure 56

Use of Cell Phones 57

Guides: Cell Phones 58

Corporal Punishment 59

Reasonable Punishment 60

Minimal Due Process 61

Excessive Punishment 61

Guides: Corporal Punishment 61

Classroom Harassment 62

The U.S. Supreme Court’s Decision Regarding Sexual Harassment 62

Guides: Classroom Harassment 63

Reporting Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect Occurring at Home 63

Pregnant Students 64

Married Students 64

Guides: Pregnant and Married Students 65

Practical Tips 65

Endnotes 66


Due Process and Student Safety 68

Creating Safe Schools 68

Gangs and Dress 69

Guides: Gangs and Dress 70

School Uniform Dress Policies and Students’ Rights to Freedom of Expression 70

Early Legal Challenges 71

Guides: Uniforms 71

Zero Tolerance and School Safety 71

Recent Zero Tolerance Practices 72

Guides: Zero Tolerance 72

Bullying in Public Schools 73

Cyberbullying 73

Megan Meier Cyberbullying Prevention Act 74

Guides: Bullying 74

School Suspension 74

Discipline Involving Minority Students 75

Racial Disparities in Policy Enforcement 75

Guides: School Suspension 75

Procedural and Substantive Due Process 76

Expulsion 77

Guides: Expulsion 77

Metal Detectors 78

Guides: Metal Detectors 79

Drug Testing 79

Alcohol Use and Breathalyzers 80

Guides: Drugs and Alcohol Testing 81

Practical Tips 81

Endnotes 82


Liability and Student Records 83

Sanctions for Violating Family Privacy Rights 84

Rights of Parents 86

Rights of Noncustodial Parents 87

Rights of Eligible Students 87

Rights of School Personnel 87

Enforcement of State and Federal Statutes 88

Family Education Rights and Privacy Act 88

Significant U.S. Supreme Court Ruling 88

Defamation by School Personnel 89

Slander 89

Libel 90

Privilege 91

Good Faith 91

Acts of Malice 91

Confidentiality Issues Involving School Counselors 92

Guides: Liability and Student Records 92

Practical Tips 94

Endnotes 95


Individuals with Disabilities 96

Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEIA) 97

Mandatory Requirements 97

Functional Exclusion of Children with Disabilities 98

Interpretation and Identification of Children with Disabilities 98

Response to Intervention 98

Individualized Education Program (IEP) Requirement 101 No Child Left Behind 101

Least Restrictive Environment 102 E

qual Access to Assistive Technology for Students with Disabilities 104

Program Review and Changes 104

Education-Related Service Requirement 105

Inclusion of Children with Disabilities 105

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Federal Protection 106

Disciplining Students with Disabilities 106

Expulsion 106

Suspension 107

Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504 113

Guides: Students with Disabilities 113

Practical Tips 114

Endnotes 115


The Teacher and School Liability 116

The School as a Safe Place 116

Liability of School Personnel 117

Individual Liability 117

Vicarious Liability 118

Foreseeability 118

Nuisance 119

Intentional Torts 120

Mental Distress 120

False Imprisonment 121

Trespassing on Personal Property 122

Unintentional Torts 122

Standard of Care 123

Breach of Duty 123

Proximity, or Legal Cause 123

Injury 123

Defenses Against Negligence 124

Contributory Negligence 124

Assumption of Risk 124

Comparative Negligence 124

Immunity 125

Liability Costs 125

Duties of Supervision 125

Supervision Before and After School 126

Field Trips 127

Parental Consent and Written Waivers 128

Parent Chaperones and Liability 128

Guides: School Liability 129

Practical Tips 130

Endnotes 131


Discrimination in Employment 132

Title VII: Discrimination 132

Sexual Discrimination 135

The Rehabilitation act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 135

Qualifications for Employment 136

Scope of Protection–Section 504 and the ADA 138

Guides: Americans with Disabilities 138

Racial Discrimination 139

Religious Discrimination 139

Age Discrimination 140

HIV Positive Teachers in Public Schools 140

Schools and Transgender Teachers 141

Pregnancy and Public School Employment 141

Family and Medical Leave Act 142

Guides: Discrimination 143

Sexual Harassment 144

Sexual Harassment of Students by School Personnel 147

Guides: Sexual Harassment 147

Practical Tips 148

Endnotes 149


Teacher Freedoms 150

Substantive and Procedural Considerations 150

Freedom of Expression 151

Speech Outside the School Environment 152

Teacher Use of Facebook and Other Social Media 153

Academic Freedom 153

Freedom of Association 154

Political Rights 155

Dress and Grooming 156

Right to Privacy 156

Guides: Teacher Freedoms 158

Religious Freedoms 158

Use of Religious Garb by School Personnel 159

Title VII: Religious Discrimination 160

Guides: Title VII: Religious Discrimination 161

Practical Tips 161

Endnotes 163


Tenure, Dismissal, and Collective Negotiations 164

Tenure 164

Acquisition of Tenure 165

Nonrenewal 166

Guides: Tenure 166

Teacher Evaluation 167

Guides: Teacher Evaluation 167

Financial Exigency (Elimination of Positions) 167

Guides: Financial Exigency 168

Dismissal for Cause 169

Incompetency 169

Insubordination 170

Neglect of Duty 170

Immorality 171

Teachers and Ethical Behavior 171

Conduct Involving Morality 171

Sexual Advances Toward Students 172

Guides: Dismissal for Cause 173

Good or Just Cause 173

Guides: Good or Just Cause 174

Collective Bargaining 174

Private Sector Versus Public Sector Bargaining 175

State Involvement 176

Scope of Collective Bargaining 176

Impasse and Bargaining 178

Workers’ Compensation 178

Guides: Collective Bargaining 179

Practical Tips 180

Endnotes 181

APPENDIX A Constitution of the United States 183

APPENDIX B Summary of Relevant Federal Statutes 185

Glossary of Relevant Legal Terms 191

Index 197

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