Module 3 Legal Rights and Responsibilities TED 377 Methods in Sec. Ed. Module 3 Students will explain the roles and responsibilities (including confidential record keeping and reporting) of classroom teachers to motivate and manage all students in Secondary programs, including by explaining the legal rights and responsibilities of teachers, students, and parents, such as those related to in loco parentis, the reasonable person rule, the uses/abuses of punishments, and obligations related to child abuse and neglect. Topics • Power and authority. • In Loco Parentis and the Reasonable Person Rule. • Restraining students. • De-escalation techniques. • Dealing with alcohol and drug abuse. • Recording behavior. Corporal Punishment • According to PA law (Chapter 12), the use of corporal punishment is prohibited! How many states allow corporal punishment? (StopHitting.com) Is there a link between punishment and crime? (StopHitting.com) Corporal Punishment • Teachers and school authorities may use reasonable force under the following circumstances: 1. To quell a disturbance. 2. To obtain possession of weapons or other dangerous objects. 3. For the purpose of self-defense. 4. For the protection of persons or property. Important Questions • What is reasonable force? • In a disturbance, how much and how should a teacher get involved? LAWYERS Power and Authority What is the difference between power and authority? As a teacher, do you have authority? As a teacher, do you have power? Power and Authority • Teachers must have and do have authority and power. – Some teachers think we have too little power. – Some students say teachers have too much power. – Teachers must use their authority and power responsibly, with maturity, and with great sensitivity. • Students respond to teachers management efforts on the basis of 4 kinds of teacher power. Power and Authority 1. 2. 3. 4. Referent power. Students like the teacher on a personal level because the teacher is able to communicate caring and empathy. Expert power. Students view the teacher as knowledgeable in his or her subject field and therefore as someone who can help them learn. Reward/coercive power. Because the teacher uses rewards and punishments in a consistent way, students see the connection between behaviors and consequences. Legitimate power. Students see the teacher as an authority figure who has authority and power. Teacher’s Tip As a new teacher, your age provides a connection to the students’ world that is not available for older teachers. Use it! Teacher Roles 1. In Loco Parentis 2. Reasonable Person Rule In Loco Parentis • in loco parentis: – Latin for “in the place of a parent.” – Refers to the legal responsibility of a person or organization to take on some of the functions and responsibilities of a parent. – Allows schools to act in the best interests of the students as they see fit, allowing what would otherwise be considered violations of the students’ civil liberties. In Loco Parentis • New Jersey v. T.L.O. (1985) – Upheld the search of lockers and other personal space while on school property. – Students are not afforded the same rights as adults in other settings. – While acting in loco parentis, school officials are still representatives of the state. In Loco Parentis • Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier (1987) – “First Amendment rights of students in the public schools are not automatically coextensive with the rights of adults in other settings, and must be applied in light of the special characteristics of the school environment.” – Schools may censor school-sponsored publications (such as a school newspaper) if content is “...inconsistent with its basic educational mission.” Reasonable Person Rule • In the same situation, how would a reasonable person respond to the circumstances? • The reasonable person rule protects teachers as they deal with students regarding classroom management issues. Restraining Students • “Professional educators shall exert reasonable effort to protect the student from conditions which interfere with learning or are harmful to the student's health and safety.” PA Code of Professional Practice and Conduct for Educators Restraining Special Ed. Students • § 14.133. POSITIVE Behavior support. • (a) Positive, rather than negative, measures shall form the basis of behavior support programs to ensure that all students and eligible young children shall be free from demeaning treatment, and the use of aversive techniques and/or the inappropriate unreasonable use of restraints. • When an intervention is needed to address problem behavior, the types of intervention chosen for a particular student or eligible young child shall be the least intrusive necessary. The use of restraints is considered a measure of last resort, only to be used after other less restrictive measures, including de-escalation techniques. Restraining Special Ed. Students • (i) The application of physical force, with or without the use of any device, for the purpose of restraining the free movement of a student’s or eligible young child’s body: • The term restraint does not include: – Briefly holding, without force, a student or eligible young child in order to calm or comfort him. – Guiding a student or eligible young child to an appropriate activity. – Holding a student’s or eligible young child’s hand to safely escort her from one area to another. Restraining Students in Reality • Never touch students. • Know your school district policies and procedures – follow them! • Call for help – call the office. • If you need to “step in,” make sure an adult witness is present. • Report incidents in writing to the principal. De-escalation Techniques for Middle and High School Students • Make eye contact. • Ask open-ended questions. • Never physically square off with a student. • Use non-threatening body language. • Identify aggressor and separate to neutralize situation. • Stay engaged less than 10 seconds in each instance. De-escalation Techniques • Intervene at earliest point of contact. • Speak softer when the student’s voice raises in volume. • Never use finger pointing. • Never block escape routes. • Use benign silence. • Handle the situation without asking for principal’s assistance. De-escalation Techniques • Listen to why the student is angry. • Put yourself on the same physical level with the student (come out from your desk, sit beside them). • Encourage students, do not discourage. • Create win/win situations. • Treat students fairly, but not necessarily equal. De-escalation Techniques • Allow student to express feelings either verbally or in writing. • Provide choices to escape the situation. • Use humor. • Create a personal time out area. A safe area but in the classroom. Do not use the area in a punitive manner. Dealing with Abuse • On occasion, problem behaviors result from: – Substance abuse. – Stressors at home or elsewhere (abuse, death, parent unemployment, serious illness, divorce). Dealing with Abuse • Section 1547 requires each public school student to receive instruction in alcohol, chemical and tobacco abuse in every year in every grade from K-12. Dealing with Abuse • Teachers are not alone: – If you suspect alcohol or drug abuse, discuss/refer the matter with the assistant principal, the nurse, or a guidance counselor, according to the district’s policies and procedures. – By law, every district has established a Student Assistance Team. Dealing with Abuse • Student assistance team members are trained to: – Identify problems. – Determine whether or not the presenting problem lies within the responsibility of the school. – Make recommendations to assist the student and the parent. The team does not provide diagnosis or treatment services nor does it replace the parents’ decisionmaking responsibility relative to the resolution of their children's problems. Dealing with Abuse • In cases where the problem lies beyond the scope of the school's responsibility, the team: – Informs the parent. – Provides information on community resources and the options to deal with the problem. – Where necessary, sets up linkages with resources to help resolve the problem. Mandated Reporters • Teachers are required by law to report any child abuse (sexual, physical or emotional). Teachers are held responsible if they fail to report suspected or known abuse. – Teachers report when a child describes an incident to them. – Teachers report if they are suspicious of abuse. Confidentiality • “Professional educators shall keep in confidence information obtained in confidence in the course of professional service unless required to be disclosed by law or by clear and compelling professional necessity as determined by the professional educator.” PA Code of Professional Practice and Conduct for Educators Recording Behavior • It is a teacher’s responsibility (and good judgment) to maintain records of student behavior issues. Recording Behavior • When recording behaviors: – Include date and time. – List the facts in as much detail as possible. – Record information to be prepared: • Questioned by parents. • Internal discussion/investigation. • Called to testify in court. Recording Behavior Johnny has been very disruptive lately. He is always misbehaving! With him in my class, students are not learning effectively. Compare with the following… Recording Behavior I carefully monitored Johnny for the last ten days. He missed two of those ten days and has been late twice (10 minutes and 34 minutes). During those ten days, Johnny was supposed to hand in fourteen homework assignments; he actually handed in two (one was copied from another student). He regularly ignores teacher directions: On February 2nd I gave ten directions to the class -- he responded to two. Cont’d On February 4th, I gave ten directions -- he responded to five, but in each case only after I addressed him individually. An additional two times I prompted him a second time. In both of those cases he muttered under his breath before complying. Three times he did not respond. During the same ten days, I needed to attend to Johnny 26 times; 20 times for inappropriate behavior (e.g., rule violations) and 6 for making verbal threats toward other students. Recording Behavior • Always report the facts of a situation in writing to your principal ASAP (surely by the end of the day). • Many schools have a Situation Incident Report form (“SIR”). Keep a copy. • Remember: Do not feed the grapevine – confidentiality policies forbid you to share with colleagues (and others) who are not directly involved. SITUATION INCIDENT REPORT TO: FROM: RE: DATE: Principal __________ Situation Needing Attention __________ Please know that ____ (day/time), ______ (student)... In response, I… I think we need to… Review: MODULE 3 • Power and authority. • In Loco Parentis and the Reasonable Person Rule. • Restraining students. • De-escalation techniques. • Dealing with alcohol and drug abuse. • Recording behavior.