Pickering vs. Board of Education

A court case in which a teacher criticized the school board’s financial policies and was fired. He took the case to the Supreme Court and won. Teachers are guaranteed the right to express their opinions and beliefs under the First Amendment, as long as they do not disrupt the business of the school and the learning environment.

Copyright Laws

  • Protects the intellectual property of authors
  • Must receive permission from author to reproduce materials
  • Many items on the internet are also copyrighted
  • Some authors give permission for copying to teachers for use in their classroom

Fair Use Guidelines

  • Policies which specify limited use of copyright materials for educational purposes
  • Can make one copy for planning purposes
  • Can make copies for one time use in class
  • Pages from consumable materials may not be copied
  • Cannot create a collection of works
  • Cannot charge students

Religion and the Law

  • Prayer, or other religious activities, cannot be initiated by the school or teacher
  • Prayer and other religious activities are permitted if initiated by students
  • Schools must give religious organizations the same access to facilities as they give other secular organizations
  • Prayer permitted in school if initiated by students, and does not interfere with the functioning of the school; all students not required to participate
  • Schools cannot teach a particular religion, but may teach the history of religion, comparative religions, or the role of religion in the history of the United States or other countries
  • No religious symbols permitted

Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on race, color or national origin.

Title IX prohibits discrimination based on gender.

Family Education Right and Privacy Act (FERPA): makes school records open to parents and students; must inform parents of their rights regarding records; must provide access; must create procedures for allowing students and parents to challenge and/or amend information believed to be inaccurate; protects against disclosure of confidential information to third parties without consent.

Individuals with Disabilities Act guarantees access to education for all children with special needs; must receive education in the least restrictive environment; must have access to special services and accommodations; requires the use of an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) which is formed with input from parents, classroom teachers, special education teachers, social work, principal and other designated individuals.