What rights should be protected for students and teachers?

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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.

References

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.

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13 thoughts on “What rights should be protected for students and teachers?

  1. Hannah, your blog is well written and has great textual evidence and supporting arguments. I agree with you when you say that search and seizure is sometimes taken too far in schools. I know of a person in middle school who was searched because a rumor was spread around the school that he had something in his bag that he wasn’t supposed to have. It turned out that he didn’t have anything harmful in his bag at all. Another situation happened at the same school, but a year later. A young man was searched because it was believed that he had a gun on him, and it turned out that he actually did. I think the 4th amendment is a hard situation because people would rather feel safe than sorry.

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    1. Thanks for your response! Yes I agree that the 4th Amendment can be tricky in these situations. I don’t see a problem with looking through bags and lockers, however when it comes to searching the students I think having them strip searched is a little to far. Maybe like a pat down with multiple employees present and then if something is felt they can strip search with maybe a parent or guardian in the room.

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  2. Great post Hannah! Your statement “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.” is really good because this could be very true to some kids with a bad home life. The last thing they want to do is go to school and get punished while at home it’s sadly happening. They want to go somewhere they feel safe!

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  3. Loved your post Hannah. I found it very interesting all the rights we as students (and future teachers) have. I liked how you went into detail about each Constitutional right, what it was, and how it was or wasn’t used in schools. I too think some of these exceptions within the school system could be changed, because they are no longer relevant or appropriate in today’s society. Great read!

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  4. Great post! I think you made some great points about students constitutional rights, and explained how that right is being used in schools and if it should be used. Tying in the explanation about “in loco parentis” really helped your argument. When it came to teachers you talked about there rights according to Clara Lt., but what are your opinions on teachers constitutional rights, in regards to the amendments you mentioned that students have?

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  5. Having children feel safe in a school based setting is the first foundation of learning. Therefore, I agree on your statement in regards to children and discipline; there are various ways to get your point across to children corporal punishment is not one of them. When it comes to this weeks compelling question as seen in your blog your focus was on what rights are actually taken away from students when they enter a school. Also, teachers rights based on problems that occur daily. These facts are stated clearly but what rights, “should” be protected for students and teachers in our society today? Should tenure be a right even if they are not willing to change their teaching strategies due to high failure rate?

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  6. You’re right in saying that students leave their rights at the door. Students lose some of their rights at school because the school has to provide a safe learning environment. However, it’s not just the 1st, 4th, and 8th Amendments that they leave at the door. Students also leave the 2nd Amendment, the right to bear arms, at the door and this one applies to college students as well. However, Texas, this year, has passed a bill that now allows students to carry guns on campus.

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    1. I am very upset by that new bill, it’s very sad that we have already lost so many lives to school shooting and now we are just increasing the chances with this law. It breaks my heart, especially after the recent shooting today. I think that certain rights should be left at the door but I also think sometimes it can be taken too far.

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  7. I really liked reading your blog post! The beginning was very cool because you applied the rights of teachers and the schools as well. The students to have different rights outside of the school and I like how you incorporated that as well. I agree that there are small perks to having these laws as you stated, but i also believe that teachers and students are better off now then what it was like back then. You could incorporate some past and future to your blog, but overall it was very interesting.

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  8. Your post is so well written. Thank you! In the last paragraph you talked about teacher’s rights. I’ve never thought of tenure as a right but it definitely is. I can appreciate protections like representation at a parent conference. I see the need to have a member of the administration there to witness the meeting. What other ways can a teacher’s rights be improved? Children’s rights are just as important as the teacher’s. The students have the right to be and feel safe in a classroom. Corporal punishment will in no way make the student feel safe and it is not a good method of discipline.

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  9. I loved reading about how you incorporated the teachers rights in your post as well as the student tights. This is something we don’t always think about. I also have to agree with you, I believe that some of the student rights or rather, lack their of, are a little also unreasonable. They can be used correctly and do what they were designed to accomplish but many times we find that schools abuse their power and I do not like how there is a lack of support for the students. Like said before, some students may have a troubled home life and the school is their safe haven. If we abuse the power of personal space without reasonable suspicion, the students will begin to shut down and not cooperate. In my high school, the school was so harsh on students for the smallest little things that everyone hated coming to school and the whole year was dreaded by the student body. I hate that student have to feel that way!

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  10. Tinker v. Des Moines actually clarifies that students don’t leave all their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse door, but they are reduced to ensure that the mission of schools — to educate — are not deterred. The question is how much rights should students maintain and how much should they give up as minors in an educational environment?

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