Who's Allowed on Your School Grounds?

By Edwin C. Darden

Possession is nine-tenths of the law -- or so the saying goes.

Board members are the ultimate authority in a school district, having the final say on most matters. Superintendents, for their part, are the day-to-day managers who supervise the staff.

It is easy, then, to see how school leaders can believe that their power over district staff and property is absolute. That is particularly true when it comes to letting someone in or keeping them out of “your” buildings.

While the board room or even the entire district may seem an automatic candidate for the right of exclusion, numerous laws address who can come in and when, what information they can demand, and how you must respond. In other words, school property may be your castle, but the courts, state legislatures, and other government leaders establish the rules.

That legal lesson was on display recently in three court cases about public settings. 

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