Everyone in the United States have rights that are supported by law. However, students and teachers are exempt from some laws when it comes to being at school. When at school students have rights taken away from them. When the student come to school each morning the school is regarded to “in loco parentis” which means the school has control of the students’ rights. As for teachers they have rights to protect them when it comes to concerning representation, job security, extra duties, tenure, colleague conflicts, and parental issues.
When students are in school their rights are not the same as when they are outside of school. The rights have exceptions to them and somewhat are taken away from the students. The student gives up their rights from the 1st, 4th, and 8th Amendments when they walk in to school. The rights that have exceptions in the 1st Amendment are that students do not have the freedom of press and freedom of speech is only a right if the student is not being disruptive, if the speech is disruptive or not is up to the teachers and administration at the school. Right from the 1st Amendment that is protected for student is the freedom of religion. Students can maintain their religious rights in school, school clubs, and school activities. Employees of the school cannot promote or degrade any religion. The 4th Amendment states that search and seizure cannot happen without a warrant and a warrant is not issued unless there is probable cause. However, when a student is in school search ad seizures can be done if there is reasonable suspicion. Cruel and unusual punishment falls under the 8th Amendment, K-12 students do not have cruel and unusual punishment rights in schools. It is up to the state to decide this right. While all these rights have been test in the courts, which have determined if student have them or not, I think some of them are unreasonable and should be changed to protect our students. I think that some things could be taken too far such as searches and seizures, and cruel and unreasonable punishment. In the case Safford v. Redding (2008) a 8th grade girl was stripped search with reasonable suspicion of having prescription ibuprofen. I think this is taking it too far even though the courts disagreed. The schools reason was that they were protecting other children in the school, however the girl being search was not being protected by anyone and was put in a very vulnerable situation. Another right I feel should be protected for students are the 8th Amendment. Corporal punishment is allowed in schools where the state allows it. I think this is inhumane and uncalled for. Children should feel safe in school and while they may be a need for discipline it can be done in other ways. I also think it is not right because a child could be being abused at home and then if they are given corporal punishment at school they will have no safe place to seek help.
Teachers have rights in place that protect them from problems that could arise on a daily basis. These rights have to do with representation, job security, extra duties, tenure, colleague conflicts, and parental issues. Representation gives teachers the right to bring someone into meetings with administration if you suspect it may be disciplinary in nature. Job security and tenure help teacher to secure jobs of teachers, “school must show cause in order to dismiss a teacher who has tenure status. Some state statutes provide a list of circumstances where a school may dismiss a teacher. These circumstances are similar to those in which a state agency may revoke a teacher’s certification” (Clara LT, 2014). Extra duties may be asked of teachers, when presented with these duties teachers are legally allowed to ask to have time to consider taking on the responsibilities and are able to contact their local union for advice. Teachers may also contact their union representative when there is a colleague conflict to help address the situation with administration. When dealing with students’ parents conflict may arise. Keeping a written record of the contact with the parents is helpful when it comes to any conflicts and having another professional from the school present in meetings. I think that there are good laws in place to help protect teachers. There can always be more that could be done but this issue can always be brought to the attention of the local teachers union and they can help the teachers fin their rights.
Clara Lt. (2014). When Things Go Wrong: Your Rights as a Teacher. http://www.edutopia.org/discussion/when-things-go-wrong-your-rights-teacher
Goldstein, D. (2014). The Teacher Wars: A History of America’s Most Embattled Profession. Doubleday.
Krutka, D. (2015). Education foundations. Retrieved from https://educationalfoundations.wordpress.com/
Zirkel, P. A. (1993). Academic Freedom: Professional or Legal Right?.Educational Leadership, 50(6), 42-43.