Mod 3 slides

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.
• 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?
Is there a link between
punishment and crime?
Corporal Punishment
Teachers and school authorities may use
reasonable force under the following
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?
Power and Authority
What is the difference between power and
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
– 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
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
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
– “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
– 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
• 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
• 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
• 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
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
– Substance abuse.
– Stressors at home or elsewhere (abuse,
death, parent unemployment, serious illness,
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
– 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
– 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
– 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
• “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.
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 Needing Attention
Please know that ____ (day/time), ______ (student)...
In response, I…
I think we need to…
• Power and authority.
• In Loco Parentis and the Reasonable
Person Rule.
• Restraining students.
• De-escalation techniques.
• Dealing with alcohol and drug abuse.
• Recording behavior.