Law and Education

741. This course focuses on the legal issues in public education. Topics may include student and employee free speech rights, religion in the schools, constitutional issues in the discipline and dismissal of school employees, teacher tenure, special education, desegregation, state constitutional issues regarding funding and access to education, state statutory provisions regarding financing of education, and reform of the public schools.

Required Casebook

Alexander & Alexander, American Public School Law (8th edition, 2012, Wadsworth, Cengage Learning) (ISBN-10: 049591049X, ISBN-13: 9780495910497)

Note about casebook:  While the listed publication date for the casebook is 2012, the book was actually published in 2011. Since it has been in use for several semesters, used copies are available from various online sellers. In addition, copies are available for rent as an alternative to purchasing the book.

Attendance Policy

ABA Standard 304(d) requires “regular and punctual” class attendance. To implement this policy, students will be required to initial an attendance sheet for each class. Failure to initial the attendance sheet will be counted as an absence. Students who are absent from more than 20% of regularly scheduled classes (more than 6 classes) will be administratively withdrawn from the course. Students who miss 6 classes will be sent a warning letter by email alerting them to the fact that they are in danger of administrative withdrawal.

Grading:  There will be a three-hour closed book examination. Grades will be based exclusively on exam performance.

Class Discussion Problems

Problem - Religious Club Meeting

Problem - Graduation Speech

Problem - Moment of Silence

Problem - Student Discipline

Problem - Planned Parenthood Advertisement

Problem - Controversial T-Shirt

Problem - Low Graduation Rates

Problem - Gun Toting Teachers

Problem - Army Base Supremacy Clause

Class Materials

Pledge of Allegiance

Excerpt from Good News Club opinion

Equal Access Act (PowerPoint)

Equal Access Act Article

Lemon Test and Endorsement Test

Lee v. Weisman Prayers

Moment of Silence Statutes

State Constitution Religion Provisions

Establishment Clause - Lemon Test and Endorsement Test

IDEA Information (Department of Education)

IDEA - Procedural Safeguards

IDEA Provisions - Evaluation, Eligibility and IEP

IDEA Definitions


Individualized Education Program (IEP) Information

Massachusetts Teacher Tenure and Discharge Statutes

Connecticut Teacher Tenure Law

Privacy Expectations and Protections for Teachers in the Internet Age

School Officials Respond to Teacher Blog Post

Teacher Suspended For Blog Post

Free Speech Rights of School Employees

Procedural Due Process - Mathews v. Eldridge Test

Florida Corporal Punishment Statute

T.L.O. Test

O'Brien Test (used in Canady)

Dress Codes and Uniforms

Springfield School Uniform Policy

State Student Free Expression Laws

Student Internet Speech

Public Forum Doctrine Outline

Student Free Speech Outline

Bong Hits 4 Jesus

Joe Frederick's Story

Morse Concurring Opinions

Fraser's Speech

Matthew Fraser

School Funding Litigation

Preemption Analysis

Federal Impact Aid (general description)

Spending Power Test

Federal Charter School Legislation

Kentucky Litigation Since Rose Decision

United States Constitution

Sources of Public School Law Chart

State Constitution Education Provisions

Free Subscription

The National School Boards Association's Office of General Counsel publishes Legal Clips, a free weekly e-mail update discussing interesting school law issues. You may subscribe to this service at by clicking on the Subscribe option of your choice. Weekly mailings of the e-newsletter are option number 3.

Recent Supreme Court Decisions

Arizona Christian School Tuition Organization v. Winn

Snyder v. Phelps  

News Stories

City, Charter Schools Near an Agreement (April 28, 2011)

Springfield School Bus Drivers Fed Up With Student Harassment, Violence, And Lack of Action By Administrators (April 6, 2011)

Teacher Mocked Student's "Jolly Rancher" Hairdo on Facebook (April 3, 2011)

NJ First Grade Teacher Suspended Over Facebook Posts (April 1, 2011)

School Bus Driver Suspended for Confederate Flag (March 4, 2011)

Schools Facing Cuts If Lunches Aren't Paid For (February 8, 2011)

New Hampshire Pledge of Allegiance Law is Constitutional (Nov. 18, 2010)

There's Only One Way to Stop a Bully (July 22, 2010)

Despite Push, Success at Charter Schools is Mixed (May 2, 2010)

Rethinking Sex Offender Laws for Youth Texting (March 20, 2010)

In Texas Curriculum Fight, Identity Poltics Leans Right (March 19, 2010)

Texas Conservatives Win Curriculum Change (March 12, 2010)

How Christian Were the Founders (February 11, 2010)

Exam Review Materials

How to Improve Your Exam Performance

Law and Education Course Review

Past Exam Questions and Answers

2011 Exam Coverage Memo - Made Available Prior to the Exam

Fall, 2008 Exam

2008 Exam Coverage Memo - Made Available Prior to the Exam

Answer Sheet for Fall, 2008 Exam

Past Exam Question - Bulletin Board

Bulletin Board Grading Sheet

Practice Exam Question - Graduation Speech

Graduation Speech Grading Sheet

Practice Exam Question - Religious Club Meeting

Religious Club Meeting Grading Sheet

Related Links

Masschusetts Laws About Bullying

Cyberbullying Legislation

Special Education Case Law

National Center for Homeless Education

McKenney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act

Grant Gilmore Quotation - Due Process