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basic role of a school attorney

Just as students, once inside the school doors public educators do not have the same rights they enjoy as citizens outside the school. At the same time, teachers are often expected to effectively communicate with a wide variety of public staekholders. Finding the balance between encouraging teacher communication and interaction within the school and community, protecting the rights of teachers, and the legal obligation to provide an orderly and efficient school can be difficult.

Please help with providing a substantial answer to each discussion question.

1. What are the legal rights and responsibilities of teachers?
2. How and when should the performance and behaviors of teachers be documented.
3. What is the basic role of a school attorney?
4. As a teacher and administrator, in what areas would you find an attorney to be helpful?

Solution Preview

1. The legal rights of a teacher are not different from their normal rights as a citizen. They have all the rights granted to them by the U.S. Constitution of this country, including free speech. Just because a teacher steps into a classroom, this does not mean he forfeits his rights at the door. He has the right to his opinion and he has the right to express that opinion. You cannot be forced to join any particular organization or participate in any particular association as a job requirement. The school should not show discrimination toward age, race, nationality or political affiliation. Teachers' have the right to correct a student under 'loco parentis' established by the courts in the 19th century. They have the right of due process guaranteed to them by the constitution in case of being accused of an offense on the job as well as off it. Thus, teachers have the right to be represented by a lawyer in cases of false accusations made by other teachers, parents, or administrators, as well as students.

However, the teacher has his responsibility to the school or county in which he works. He must adhere to the rules of this particular body and it is his responsibility to uphold these regulations when it comes to students as well. A teacher has the responsibility of always presenting both sides of any political, social or national issue. He/She may present their own point of view, but never 'vehemently' so as to belittle those in a debate who are on the opposite side of an issue. He should represent the impartial side as an arbiter or moderator of any controversial issue. A teacher may want to reserve his own opinion of an issue so as to be politically correct or to 'save his own ...

Solution Summary

This solution examines the basic role of a school attorney and debates the usefulness of this figure as a teacher and administrator.