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Education: Law: Getting Started

This guide is intended to be a general resource on education law for educators and administrators.

Scope of the Field

Education law encompasses a wide variety of topics:

  • Tort Liability & Discipline: Issues relating to supervision of students’ physical and educational needs by the school district, administrators, teachers, principals, staff, and other students;
  • Special Education: Issues relating to appropriate treatment, discipline and individualized education program (IEP) for students with various learning disabilities;
  • First Amendment: Issues relating to the separation of church and state, establishment clause, private schools, their obligations and funding, use of vouchers, free speech, school prayer, school dress codes;
  • Fourth Amendment: Issues relating to searches of student lockers and other areas, seizure of evidence found during those searches, criminal activity of students while at school or school functions, weapons and student or outsider violence at school, illegal drug activity; bullying, school safety;
  • Discrimination: Issues, including affirmative action, sexual harassment between teachers and students or peer-to-peer, gender equity, especially relating to sports programs;
  • Educational Equity: Relating to funding adequate and equal education for all students, regardless of the economic condition of the neighborhood and school;
  • Educational Policy & Reform: Concerning the way our government values, funds, and tests students’ education achievement and teacher preparedness, trends to improve the system, and the school choices available to parents and students;
  • Individualized School Policy: Relating to many issues which helps direct teacher and administrative procedure and behavior in certain defined situations;
  • Intellectual Freedom & Copyright: Issues relating to print or online materials, distance learning issues, privacy issues, especially in the digital environment;
  • Teacher & Staff Employment: Labor, academic freedom and tenure issues; and
  • Higher Education: Issues unique to colleges, universities and graduate schools.