Public School Law Outline - Dr. William Kritsonis

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Dr. William Allan Kritsonis, Students Rights, Student Freedom of Speech, Student Expression, Pickering and other cases, Censsorship of Student Publications, Due Process, Discrimination, Diversity, Multicultural Issues, Personnel Administration

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Public School Law Outline - Dr. William Kritsonis

  1. 1. Expression and Associational Rights The Educator’s Guide to Texas School Law William Allan Kritsonis, PhD
  2. 2. INTRODUCTION <ul><li>“Rights of Expression” is in the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights. </li></ul><ul><li>Other words you can say or write what you want without the fear of going to jail. </li></ul><ul><li>This chapter deals with Educator’s and Parents rights of expression in and out of the school. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Expression Outside the School <ul><li>An educator’s job may be compromised if the exercise of a right undermines job effectiveness. </li></ul><ul><li>Pickering v. Board of Education (U.S. Supreme Court, 1968). </li></ul><ul><li>Pickering is important , because it recognizes that public employees have a right of expression as citizens in the community. </li></ul><ul><li>School districts are limited in their ability to file lawsuits against those who make comments about the district and their employees. </li></ul><ul><li>Port Arthur I.S.D. v. Klein @ Associates Political Relations , 2002. </li></ul><ul><li>The judged ruled in favor of the Firm stating “The Port Arthur district’s argument , undermines the basic principle of free expression. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Expression Within the School <ul><li>Expression within the school has 3 main points. </li></ul><ul><li>First-expression outside the classroom but on school property. </li></ul><ul><li>Second-classroom academic freedom. </li></ul><ul><li>Third- retaliation for speaking out about suspected wrongs under the Texas Whistle Blower statue. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Expression Outside the Classroom but on the School Grounds <ul><li>The First and the Fourteenth Amendment under certain circumstances protect private communication between a public school teacher and a school principle. </li></ul><ul><li>U.S. Supreme Court issued 2 important rulings pertaining to teacher expression within the workplace, first involving mailboxes and the second involving teacher complaints over working conditions. </li></ul><ul><li>Perry Education Association v. Perry Local Educators’ Association- The court decided that mailboxes are not automatically “public forums “ . </li></ul><ul><li>A public forum is a place where persons and groups can come together free from government control, such as street corners and public parks. </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>In –school employee speech is Connick v. Myers. </li></ul><ul><li>This issue is whether an employee expression on-the-job complaint is constitutionally protected and therefore can not be used in a negative employment decision. </li></ul><ul><li>The high court held that “a employee’s speech is protected when the employee speaks as a citizen on matters of public concern but not on matters of only personal interest”. </li></ul><ul><li>On the other hand a teacher who complains about a school holiday program or about sexual harassment will be speaking out on matters of public interest. </li></ul><ul><li>However, public employees in Texas have a statutory right to present grievances to their employers under Chapter 617 of the government code. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Academic Freedom <ul><li>Traditionally , legislatures and court s have left the decision to states and school boards to determine the curriculum for k-12 grades. </li></ul><ul><li>Kirkland v. Northside I.S.D. 1989, the Fifth Circuit refused to allow a teachers selection of an unapproved supplemental reading list. </li></ul><ul><li>The court affirmed the nonrenewal of the teachers contract. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Texas Whistle Blower Act <ul><li>In 1983, a law was passed prohibiting a government al body from retailing against an employee who reports a violation of law to the appropriate authority if the report is made in good faith. </li></ul><ul><li>However , in City of Houston v. Kallina, the Texas court of appeals appear to take the contrary position. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Educator Freedom of Association <ul><li>The 1 st -14 th Amendment as applied to the states give public school teachers the right to associate. </li></ul><ul><li>In Guerra v. Roma I.S.D- 4 public teachers were let go because of an association within unsuccessful candidate . </li></ul><ul><li>The court ordered that the teachers be offered reinstatements and be awarded monetary damages and attorney fees. </li></ul><ul><li>Other cases on this matter are: Shelton v. Tucker , and SACTA/TSTA v. San Antonio. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Student Rights of Expression <ul><li>Until the mid 1960’s students had few rights in public schools. </li></ul><ul><li>In Tinker v. Des Mointes School district, 1969 states ”it can hardly be argued that either student or teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech at the school house gate”. </li></ul><ul><li>By the 1980’s the expansion of students rights ended. </li></ul><ul><li>Communication among students on Campus- </li></ul><ul><li>The Tinker case involves several public school students who wore armbands in opposition to the Vietnam War. </li></ul><ul><li>The Supreme court agreed with the student stating that “Students in school as well as out of school are ‘persons” under the Constitution. </li></ul><ul><li>As long as there is no disruption of other students who do not wear the band the students are fine. </li></ul><ul><li>However, in 1997 in Arizona the appellate court ruled that the school could impose a student dress code and disallowed students from wearing alternative dress with communicative messages. </li></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>School Sponsored Student Publication- </li></ul><ul><li>In the words of the court ”educators are entitled to exercise greater control over student expression through school-sponsored channels of communication”. </li></ul><ul><li>Non-School Sponsored Student Publications- </li></ul><ul><li>In Nelson v. Moline School District No. 40, 1989, The court agreed with the school that hallways and classroom are not public forums and may be off limits to distribution. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Student Freedom of Association <ul><li>The U.S. Supreme Court has not yet dealt with student organizations. </li></ul><ul><li>In 1989 the court ruled that the right of association protected by the First Amendment relates to expressive activities and not to those that are strictly social. </li></ul>
  13. 13. REFERENCES <ul><li>Jim Walsh, Frank Kemerer, and Laurie Maniotis.-6 th ed. </li></ul><ul><li>The Educator’s Guide to Texas School Law </li></ul><ul><li>Pgs. 213-252 </li></ul>

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