Legal Issues in the Classroom (PowerPoint)

Jane Turner, Esq.
Executive Director, CERRA
July 2012
These days everyone seems to
be aware of the many legal
issues that can arise in the
And students in today’s
classrooms are very savvy…
Teachers make decisions in the
classroom every day that could
have legal implications for
students, teachers, and school
Legal Framework for
Those Decisions
• Federal laws and regulations
• State laws and regulations
• School board policies and procedures
• School-level rules and practices
Other Framework for
Those Decisions
• Training and knowledge/understanding
• Professionalism/composure
• Practical guidelines, such as the “ask,
then act” and the “fly on the wall” rules
Decisions Every Teacher Should
Be Prepared To Make:
• Should I search a student’s book bag?
• Should I cover another teacher’s class
while the teacher is taking care of
other business?
• If I came upon two students fighting,
should I attempt to break up the fight?
• What should I do if a fellow teacher
was constantly telling me about the
discipline problems of a student in
his/her class?
• Is it permisable for me to take a
student by the arm and “direct”
him/her back to his/her seat?
• What can I say if a student tells me
she is pregnant and thinking about
getting an abortion?
• What should I do if a student asks if he
can lead the class in a blessing before
• What should I do if a student tells me
he or she is having trouble with a
fellow student “hitting” on him or her?
• If you told an administrator that you
suspected one of your students was
being abused at home and the
administrator said he or she would
handle it, do you need to do anything
• If you noticed that a student was being
repeatedly teased and taunted by
other students, in the hallways
between classes, for example, but the
student never complained to you
about it, should you do anything?
• Know your school’s rules and
practices, as well as your school
administrators’ expectations
• Ask questions if you have any
hesitation about what you should do in
any given situation
• Keep your cool
• Let an administrator know if anything
has occurred that you aren’t sure you
handled correctly