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Ethical and legal issues in education


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Ethical and legal issues in education

  1. 1. Ethical and Legal Issues in Education
  2. 2. Legal and Ethical Issues that teachers face.  Teacher supervisory liability  Teacher and student freedom of expression  Teacher personal lifestyle  Balance between religion and schooling  Student and teacher freedom of association  Student punishment  Student due process rights  Search and seizure  Sexual discrimination and harassment
  3. 3. Issues we will focus on today Teacher personal lifestyle Balance between religion and schooling Teacher freedom of association
  4. 4. Teacher Personal Lifestyle  Any behavior that negatively influences student learning or teacher effectiveness could be reason for employment termination • Guiding Principle
  5. 5. Teacher Personal Lifestyle What are teacher allowed to do outside of school?  In 2009 a Gwinnett county Georgia teacher turned down the title of Miss Georgia.  She worried that it would be too difficult to balance duties of Miss Georgia and being a teacher.  According to 1969 Morrison case courts feel like this teacher would have retained title because it have a direct connection to teacher’s work (Diamond, 2009)
  6. 6. Teacher Personal Lifestyle Can off campus behavior affect employment?  The “Hooker Teacher”  An elementary teacher in the Bronx was fired for admitting to accepting sexual favors on Craiglist  Despite Master’s degrees and previous experience the teacher resigned rather than face termination  The courts would have upheld decision if behavior was seen to disgrace profession or impair teacher’s ability to successfully work in community (Turley, 2012)
  7. 7. Teacher Personal Lifestyle Can things posted on social media affect employment?  In 2009 a Georgia teacher was forced to resign when a picture of the teacher holding a drink was posted on Facebook.  The teacher was on vacation in Europe at the time  The school felt like the teacher was promoting alcohol use  Court upheld decision because they feel that anyone who resigns even under pressure can’t be considered involuntary termination (Downey, 2011)
  8. 8. • Balance between religion and schooling Teachers and students can exercise religious beliefs as long as they don’t attempt to establish religion on others. They are also free to abstain from school activities based on religious beliefs as long as it doesn’t become disruptive • Guiding Principle
  9. 9. Religion and School Do religious beliefs overide curriculum?  Chicago public school teacher refused to teach kindergarten curriculum because of religious beliefs  The teacher’s religious beliefs prevented them from promoting love of country  Court ruled that teacher’s beliefs must be respected but that the teacher can’t force beliefs on students by bypassing parts of curriculum (Schimmel, Stellman, & Fischer, 2011).
  10. 10. Religion and School Can assignments be restricted because of religion?  A ninth grade teacher in Tennessee was sued by student for violation of free speech  The teacher rejected the students writing assignment because it was on a religious topic.  When the student refused to change topic they received a zero  The courts ruled that because the teacher had specific requirements when paper was assigned the teacher had every right to give student a zero. (Schimmel et al., 2011).
  11. 11. Religion and School Can religion have a place in school?  A 1971 case determined whether religion could be any part of a school program  The Supreme Court developed what they called the Lemon test to determine constitutionality of religion in schools.  Test results is three parts  1. It must have secular legislative purpose  2. Primary effect cannot promote or inhibit religion  3. Can’t promote excessive government involvement with religion (Schimmel et al., 2011).
  12. 12. • Teacher freedom of association Teachers can be associated with organizations as long as there is no conflict of interest • Guiding Principle
  13. 13. Teacher Freedom of Association Example 1  A Mississippi teacher was not rehired after eleven years of teaching  The teacher had supported a recall petition against board members and opposed the election of the school superintendent  The courts decided that a teacher is protected from being fired when involved in constitutional activities (Schimmel et al., 2011).
  14. 14. Teacher Freedom of Association Example 2  Teacher can be passed over for hiring because of political affiliations  A Puerto Rican teacher sued because they were not rehired due to party membership  The courts didn’t find in the teacher’s favor but did make a distinction between hiring and rehiring  The courts found that it was not unconstitutional to deny initial employment based on political affiliations but not constitutional to refuse reemployment for the same reasons. (Schimmel et al., 2011).
  15. 15. Teacher Freedom of Association Example 3 Freedom of association doesn’t protect teachers from online communications with students  In 2009 a Connecticut high school teacher was not rehired after inappropriate conversations with a student on MySpace  Teacher sued stating that this was a violation of freedom of association  Courts determined that freedom of association was only protected when association involved a public matter but that MySpace didn’t count as public concern.  Students involved in the same activity would face suspension. (Schimmel et al., 2011).
  16. 16. Ethical Boundary Teachers, students and parents relationship’s must maintain the integrity of the school program Any activity or behavior that has an adverse affect on student success must be avoided.
  17. 17. References  Diamond, L. (2009, June 29). Can teachers have lives outside of school?. Get Schooled RSS. Retrieved July 7, 2014, from blog/2009/06/29/can%E2%80%99t-teachers-have-lives- outside-of-school/  Downey, M. (2011, October 10). Court rules against Ashley Payne in Facebook case. But more to come.. Get Schooled RSS. Retrieved July 7, 2014, from schooled-blog/2011/10/10/court-rules-against-ashley- payne-in-facebook-case/  Fischer, L., Schimmel, D., & Kelly, C. A. (2011). Teachers and the law (8th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.  Turley, J. (2012, April 2). Teachers Under A Morality Microscope. JONATHAN TURLEY. Retrieved July 7, 2014, from a-microscope/