Special Education Students and Emergency Plans
School districts are always developing and refining emergency management plans for their general student population. However, very few plans include procedures for students with developmental disabilities. These students cannot always comfortably or safely use standard resources offered in emergency management plans, leaving them unprepared for a school crisis.
Promoting Diversity in Your Schools
Education in the U.S. is at an important crossroads. Amplifying our collective national challenge is a demographic reality: Significantly larger segments of our emerging workforce will come in future years from low-income and racial and ethnic groups that often have been the least well-served by our schools.
Legal Challenges to Your Curriculum
Parental complaints about your curriculum may be unavoidable. Parents can bring two major legal challenges against a school’s curriculum: a claim under the 14th Amendment that the lessons violate the parents’ constitutional right to direct the educational upbringing of their children, and a religious challenge under the First Amendment.
Contracting for School Construction
The first and most important professional to hire when confronting a building project is the attorney. Just as the school district does not hire an attorney to design its buildings, neither should it expect its architect to draft contracts. Here are some important points to consider in your next school construction contract.
How to Prevent Lawsuits
Most states insulate school board members from personal liability for actions they take within the parameters of their board responsibilities. Even so, the distraction and negative publicity of a lawsuit are unwelcome intrusions that mostly can be avoided using best practices. Here are 10 suggestions to limit your potential liability.
Code of Conduct for Athletic Coaches
What can you as school leaders do to reduce or prevent liability stemming from incidents involving athletic coaches? Auditing hiring practices for athletic coaches will significantly reduce potential liability that may arise when inadequate or inconsistent hiring practices are in place.
Is Justice Colorblind?
Despite wishful thinking to the contrary, a person’s race or ethnicity continues to influence decision-making—and school districts are no exception. The myriad social and legal issues connected to race persist. The fact that U.S. citizens elected a man of color to the White House has not significantly changed the equation.
Annual Review of Weird School Law News
This year’s odd news in public school education law is strewn with examples of school systems dropping the hammer on students, teachers, and parents through get-tough, crackdown, no-mercy policies and practices. Here are some strange but true legal happenings that should make you smile – if it’s not your district.
Defending Team Trademarks
With profit in mind, universities, corporations, and individuals stake their claim to distinctive features identified with their products, then aggressively defend against encroachment – whether real or perceived. School districts can easily get caught on the business end of sharp elbows; there is no trademark law equivalent to copyright’s fair use exception.
Copyright Rules For Schools
Whenever a legally owned work is infringed upon, changes are a cease-and-desist letter and possibly a lawsuit will follow, because money – and sometimes big money – is at stake. For school districts, then, the question is how to take advantage of cultural riches for learning purposes without suffering a financial setback.
The Pregnancy Question
Women are generously represented in K-12 public schools. While board members and school officials should worry about efficiency, logistics, and the best interests of students, they must recognize that taking on a pregnant employee could have steep repercussions. The law has clearly come down on the side of pregnant women.
Dealing with Student Cheating
We all know the adage, “cheaters never win and winners never cheat.” Oh, if that were only true. A survey by Who’s Who Among American High School Students found that 76 percent of high-achieving teens cheated because it “didn’t seem like a big deal.” Ninety percent were never caught.
The Highly Qualified Teacher Debate
A recent ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit stating that only fully credentialed and certified teachers can wear the label “highly qualified” means that teaching interns such as those in Teach for America cannot be counted as equivalent to full-fledged teachers, for NCLB purposes.