Legal Issues Facing Teachers Presented by CUA’s Office of the General Counsel *Not to be used independent of the OGC.
Hierarchy of Law U.S. Constitution  Federal Law State Constitution  And Law Local School Board School Policy and Procedure
Contracts <ul><li>Grievance  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Union representatives are proficient at filing  </li></ul></ul><ul><li>...
Due Process <ul><li>Substantive – protection of rights against arbitrary decision-making  </li></ul><ul><li>Procedural – p...
Liability  <ul><li>Agency theory – a teacher is  protected  from liability if acting within the scope of his or her duties...
Reporting Obligations <ul><li>Child Abuse and Neglect </li></ul><ul><li>Harassment </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sexual </li></ul>...
Child Abuse and Neglect <ul><li>The National Child Abuse Prevention Treatment Act  (1974) </li></ul><ul><li>Child abuse an...
Commonalities in State Law Definitions <ul><li>Physical injury </li></ul><ul><li>Mental injury </li></ul><ul><li>Sexual ab...
Mandatory Duty to Report <ul><li>DC, Maryland and Virginia  require  teachers to report suspected abuse/neglect. </li></ul...
<ul><li>Indicators </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Physical abuse: bruises, welts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sexual abuse: </li></ul...
Where to Report School: Principal Counselor D.C Child Protective  Services 202-671-7233 M.D. Dept. of H.R. Child Protectiv...
Documentation <ul><li>What should be documented? </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Who:  Principal, Counselor </li></ul></ul><...
As a Teacher, Am I Protected? <ul><li>When making the initial report, a reporter may request to remain anonymous during th...
Harassment <ul><li>Sexual </li></ul><ul><li>Protection under Title IX </li></ul><ul><li>Quid Pro Quo – relationship of une...
Weapons, Alcohol, and Drugs Source:  Educational Policy and the Law , ( 4th ed.  2002) <ul><li>Gun-Free Schools Act of 199...
Copyright <ul><li>Public Domain </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Works created before laws, e.g. works of Shakespeare </li></ul></ul>...
What If the Work Is Copyrighted? <ul><li>Does the School pay to use a licensed database? </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>If so, ...
The Buckley Amendment (a.k.a. Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act F.E.R.P.A.) <ul><li>The Act applies to: </li></ul>...
5 Important Features of F.E.R.P.A. Source:  Teachers and the Law,  ( 6 th  ed. 2003) <ul><li>Inform parents of their right...
F.E.R.P.A <ul><li>Cans </li></ul><ul><li>Schools can deny access to copy records. </li></ul><ul><li>Information may be sha...
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  • Legal Issues Facing Teachers

    1. 1. Legal Issues Facing Teachers Presented by CUA’s Office of the General Counsel *Not to be used independent of the OGC.
    2. 2. Hierarchy of Law U.S. Constitution Federal Law State Constitution And Law Local School Board School Policy and Procedure
    3. 3. Contracts <ul><li>Grievance </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Union representatives are proficient at filing </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Resignation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Determine timeline for submitting; failure to submit by deadline can cause problems </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reasonable exceptions for late resignation: family is moving, severe illness </li></ul></ul>
    4. 4. Due Process <ul><li>Substantive – protection of rights against arbitrary decision-making </li></ul><ul><li>Procedural – proper procedure should be followed; the opportunity to be heard </li></ul>
    5. 5. Liability <ul><li>Agency theory – a teacher is protected from liability if acting within the scope of his or her duties </li></ul><ul><li>Scope of duty: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Acting as a reasonable teacher would under similar circumstances </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Following the policies and procedures of the school </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>* The law does not expect a teacher to prevent unforeseen injuries that could happen quickly and without warning. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Outside the Scope: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Frolic and detour </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Intentional torts </li></ul></ul>
    6. 6. Reporting Obligations <ul><li>Child Abuse and Neglect </li></ul><ul><li>Harassment </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sexual </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Racial </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Weapon, Alcohol, and Drugs </li></ul>
    7. 7. Child Abuse and Neglect <ul><li>The National Child Abuse Prevention Treatment Act (1974) </li></ul><ul><li>Child abuse and neglect are state crimes. </li></ul><ul><li>Reporting requirements are defined by state laws. </li></ul>
    8. 8. Commonalities in State Law Definitions <ul><li>Physical injury </li></ul><ul><li>Mental injury </li></ul><ul><li>Sexual abuse </li></ul><ul><li>Negligent treatment </li></ul>
    9. 9. Mandatory Duty to Report <ul><li>DC, Maryland and Virginia require teachers to report suspected abuse/neglect. </li></ul><ul><li>You do not have to know for certain abuse is taking place. </li></ul><ul><li>Reasonable cause to believe or suspect that child abuse/neglect has occurred is sufficient. </li></ul>
    10. 10. <ul><li>Indicators </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Physical abuse: bruises, welts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sexual abuse: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>difficulty sitting, walking </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Physical neglect: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>delinquency, consistent hunger </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Emotional maltreatment: habits </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Exceptions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Religious beliefs: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>beliefs that do not allow for medical attention </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reasonable discipline </li></ul></ul>
    11. 11. Where to Report School: Principal Counselor D.C Child Protective Services 202-671-7233 M.D. Dept. of H.R. Child Protective Services 800-332-6347 V.A. Dept. of Social Services: Child Protective Services 703-838-0700 (Alexandria Office)
    12. 12. Documentation <ul><li>What should be documented? </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Who: Principal, Counselor </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What: Concerns expressed </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Date and time </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Action colleague will take </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
    13. 13. As a Teacher, Am I Protected? <ul><li>When making the initial report, a reporter may request to remain anonymous during the initial investigation. </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>May need to provide contact information. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>May be called as witness if case proceeds to trial. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Reporters having reasonable cause to believe or suspect abuse/neglect and act in good faith are protected from lawsuits. </li></ul>
    14. 14. Harassment <ul><li>Sexual </li></ul><ul><li>Protection under Title IX </li></ul><ul><li>Quid Pro Quo – relationship of unequal power </li></ul><ul><li>Hostile environment </li></ul><ul><li>Teacher-student harassment </li></ul><ul><li>Peer harassment </li></ul><ul><li>Racial </li></ul><ul><li>Protection under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 </li></ul><ul><li>Racially Hostile Educational Environment </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Severe, pervasive or persistent so as to interfere or limit one’s educational experiences </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Does not have to be intentional </li></ul>************************************************************************************* Standards: Actual Indifference Indifference by School
    15. 15. Weapons, Alcohol, and Drugs Source: Educational Policy and the Law , ( 4th ed. 2002) <ul><li>Gun-Free Schools Act of 1994 requires school districts, receiving federal funds, to provide for mandatory expulsion of students who bring firearms to school. </li></ul><ul><li>Many states and school districts have adopted “zero tolerance” laws and regulations covering other weapons such as knives. Alcohol and drugs also may be included. </li></ul>
    16. 16. Copyright <ul><li>Public Domain </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Works created before laws, e.g. works of Shakespeare </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Works where the copyright has expired, e.g. Huckleberry Finn </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Fair Use (All four factors are considered.) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Purpose and character (Is it for an educational purpose?) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Nature of work (Factual v. creative) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Amount of text used (Quantity and quality) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Effect on the market </li></ul></ul>
    17. 17. What If the Work Is Copyrighted? <ul><li>Does the School pay to use a licensed database? </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>If so, you may use works from the database. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Obtain permission of the author or artist by writing to the publisher, author or Copyright Clearance Center </li></ul><ul><li>Prohibited </li></ul><ul><li>Copying computer software; </li></ul><ul><li>Using bootlegged copies of movies; </li></ul><ul><li>Copying movies or music </li></ul>
    18. 18. The Buckley Amendment (a.k.a. Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act F.E.R.P.A.) <ul><li>The Act applies to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Public schools </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Private schools (receiving federal funding) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The right of custodial and non-custodial parents to review their children’s records </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The Act applies to all school records, not just the student’s official file: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Grades books </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Disciplinary referrals </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>IEP’s </li></ul></ul></ul>
    19. 19. 5 Important Features of F.E.R.P.A. Source: Teachers and the Law, ( 6 th ed. 2003) <ul><li>Inform parents of their rights re: records. </li></ul><ul><li>Right to inspect and review records. </li></ul><ul><li>Right to challenge accuracy of records. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Not the grading process or appropriateness of the grade. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Protects confidentiality of records. </li></ul><ul><li>Complaints may be filed with the U.S. Department of Education. </li></ul>
    20. 20. F.E.R.P.A <ul><li>Cans </li></ul><ul><li>Schools can deny access to copy records. </li></ul><ul><li>Information may be shared with other teachers and school officials who have a legitimate educational interest in the child. </li></ul><ul><li>Schools can give out directory information such as name and address. </li></ul><ul><li>Cant's </li></ul><ul><li>Schools cannot deny access to review records. </li></ul><ul><li>Cannot give outsiders access to information without written consent from parents. </li></ul><ul><li>Cannot post students’ social security numbers or names in conjunction with grades. </li></ul>

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