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Transcript of Strategic Management
Individual Rights Students deserve the opportunity to recieve their education in a safe, structured environment. In the same respect, staff members deserve to work in an environment where their rights and safety are protected. Administrative leaders must gather the necessary tools to prevent student misconduct. This requires building administrators to maintain effective school-wide discipline and accountability plans (Yell & Rozalski, 2008). School leaders have the task of developing, executing and enforcing both rules and regulations within a school. This action is necessary to both establish and continue order and discipline within the environment. However, these rules and regulations must be contained within the legal authority of the board of education to administer. Anything beyond this cannot be enforced (Stader, 2007). The Educational Leadership Constituency Council (ELCC) developed a series of standards used to assess principal preparation programs. These standards, first developed in 1995, seek to help current and future admnistrators meet the demands of society and schooling (Shipman, Queen and Peel, 2007) When strategically managing a school and making effective decisions, administrative leaders must consciously apply these standards to the situations they encounter. The following case studies, taken from Law and Ethics in
Educational Leadership (Stader, 2007), provide examples in which
the rights of educational stakeholders have the potential
to become compromised. By applying the ELCC standards to each study,
administrative leaders have the power to ensure these rights are protected. Senior Shirts
Megan Brings a Cake Bullets in the Buick To Test or Not to Test The Twenty Dollar Bill The Empire
Striking Back When a school security officer discovers a bullet in the front seat of a
student's car, what should her course of action be?
Zero tolerance has been adopted by schools as a policy that requires the
application of predetermined consequences, which are intended to be applied
irregardless of behavior severity, extenuating circumstances or the context of the
situation (Skiba, Reynolds, Graham, Sheras, Conoley and Garcia-Vasquez, 2006).
The intent of zero tolerance is to send the message that school officials are still
in charge and certain acts will not be tolerated (Stader, 2007). Regarding the case of The Bullets in the Buick, the resoure officer,
she collected several facts before allerting school administrators about
the issue. Evidently, the car belonged to a student who have recently
been linked with gang activity. The resource officer and assistant principal
confronted the boy, and proceeded to pull a loaded gun from the car. The boy
was startled, and insisted it he had no idea how the weapon ended up in his car
This case reflects on ELCC Standard 5.3, which states that "candidates make and
explain decisions based upon ethical and legal principles" (Stader, 2007). When
faced with this situation, administrators should conduct a threat assessment. First,
the school officials must conduct a threat inquiry. Then, it's the responsibility of a
law enforcement agency to conduct a threat investigation. Both seek an answer to
the question "Does the student pose a danger" and "Has the student broken a law "
The school district itself must establish a claer policy concerning treats of violence
weapon possesion. These zero tolerance policies should only apply to the most
serious of offenses, such as weapon possestion. Zero tolerance policies should not
be employed in cases involving dress code violations, tardiness or homework
policies (Stader, 2007). A group of high school students protest the non-renewal of a
popular teacher and coach. Many parents and teachers find the
action disrespctful to board policy, but the students enjoy their
new sense of empowerment. How does an administrative leader
balance the legal rights of students with his obligation to maintain
peace and good discipline within a school?
The Underground Action Alliance is a website devoted to
educating American students on both exercising and protecting
their Constitutional rights. The site discusses Freedom of Expression at
length, and maintain this is the most important right for students. It
encompasses everything from the written and spoken word, to dress.
Ultimately, a students First Amendment rights are carried with them from
thefirst moment they enter the school building, so long as they aren't a
disruptionto class or school activities (Underground Action Alliance, 2003). ELCC Standard 5.2, states that administrators must "demonstrate the ability to combine impartiality, sensitivity to student diversity and ethical considerations in their interactions with others". When faced with a situation involving freedom of expression, administrators decide the point in which the issue has become a significant disruption, as well as which individuals are actually causing the disruption. Is it the student or those opposed to their views (Stader, 2007) ?
The answer to this truly depends on the schools relationship between their lifeworld and systemsworld. Every educational stakeholder must accept that student's do have the right to express their opinions, even if they are unpopular. However, this does not give them the right to disrupt the school (Stader, 2007). Which stakeholders have the right to determine the implementation
of random drug testing for students? Does the decision rest in the
hands of the Board of Education or school administration? Where do
the opinions of teachers and coaches fit in? Within this case study, the
opposing views from a variety of educational stakeholders becomes
overwhelming for the building administrator.
In 2002, the United States Supreme Court granted public schools the right
to random drug testing of students involved in competative extracurricular
activities. According to the White House Office of National Drug Control
Policy (2002), it is up to individual communities and schools to determine if
drug abuse is an apparent threat, and if testing is the appropriate response.
When faced with conflicting opinions among stakeholders, the building
administrator must employ a decision-making model that will enable an ethical
and legal outcome. These steps include:
I. Stage One
Define the problem
Define the parameters
Identify the primary decision maker
Establish an acceptable outcome
II. Stage Two
Evaluate possible solutions
III. Stage Three
Adress the problem and determine a decision
Develop a plan for implementation
Evaluate the decision (Stader, 2007) ELCC Standard 6.3 states that administrators should "developa plan to engage students,parents and other members of the community in advocating for adoption of improved policies and law" (Stader, 2007). When faced with the decision of implementing random drug testing, a series of stages should be followed to make the final decision. A challanging group of high school senoirs have chosen a message
for their traditional "Senior shirts". The phrase "Goodbye RHS: Burn
in Hell", followed with an image of a female burning on a cross
covered the back of each participating student. Should the building
avoid further conflict and let them wear the shirts, or should she send
them home to change (Stader, 2007)?
To answer this delimma, an examiniation of the student society would
need to be completed. The administrator should consider what the
normative form of studnet expression is, as well as the school rules that
regulate student expression (Stader, 2007). ELCC Standard 3.2 states that administrators must "demostrate
an understanding of how to apply legal principles to promote
educational equity and provide a safe, effective learning environment
(Stader, 2007). School dress codes are policies that state what shouldn't
be worn. Conversly, school uniform policies state what must be worn
(Anderson, 2002). The challange with student dress policies is establishing
the balance between the students' desire for personal expression and the
need for school-wide order and discipline (Stader, 2007). This case study presents a group of students who are
wearing a shirt that implies harm towards another person.
While it would be impossible to prove that the female burning
on the cross was the building principal, it could be interpreted
as intent to harm. If the dress code policy clearly prohibits students
from wearing clothes that imply harm, then the building principal
has an obligation to send the students home to change.
In all likelihood, the senior class wouldn't resort to physical harm
of a school official because of previous conflict. Therefore, the
administrator must think objectively and not overreact. She could
possible consult with other professionals, such as a resource officer,
before making the final decision. They must also remember to follow
state law as well as school board policy in the matter (Stader, 2007) High school students crave the freedom to spread their
wings and gain independence. This case study involves a
group of students who wish to have increased freedom during
lunch, provided they clean up after themselves. Soon enough, an
incident occurs in which a students brings a cake to school, and
uses a knife to cut it up during their lunch break. While innocent,
presence of a knife on school grounds calls upon the schools zero
tolerance policy (Stader, 2007). Zero tolerance policies are based on the presumption that
students who are removed from school for disruptive behavior will set an example and deter others from disruptive behavior (Skiba, Reynolds, Graham, Sheras, Conley and Garcia-Vasquez, et al., 2006). ELCC Standard 5.3 states that "administrators make and expalin decisions based upon ethical and legal principles" (Stader, 2007).
In the case of Megan, the building administrator must first decide if the infraction was minor or more serious. Then, he/she must decide it the students poses aa danger to others. In either instance, the student must recieve their due process rights before a final decision is made. At this point, a suspencion or expulsion is recommended (Stader, 2007). The presence of a weapon in school requires a
specific threat assessment. Step One requires that
administrators follow all due process requirements.
Step Two is to initiate the actual threat inquiry. Here,
evidence is collected to support the threat potential.
Based on this level, the assessment either remains with
school personnel or an actual investigation is innitiated.
At this point, the evidence either waivers an expulsion
or supports the potential danger and/or criminal charges.
An expulsion or alternative placement is them reccommended
(Stader ,2007). An empty classroom is the setting for a missing twenty
dollar bill. When it can't be recovered from a search of backpacks, the teacher demands a bathroom search. Is this
approach both appropriate or necessary for students and how should that decision be made (Stader, 2007)?
Students do not loose their amendment rights as they enter the school building. In the same respect, they're also not free of the right unreasonable search by the school district. The question is what defines reasonable and when does it become unreasonable? In the case of the missing twenty dollar bill, the building administrator must determine what a reasonable bathroom search entails. This becomes a delimma both legal and ethical in manner. To justify a bathroom search, there must be reasonable suspicion to justify such a search, and the means to carry out the search must also be reasonable. Under In loco parentis (in place of parents), certified school personnel may initiate a search based on relaible information leading up to it (Essex, 2005). ELCC Standard 5.1 states that "administrators demonstrate a respect for the rights of others with regard to confidentiality and dignity and engage in honest interactions" (Stader ,2007). Based on this standard and prior to final decisions on a bathroom search, the building administrator must consider several questions:
1.) Is the money truly missing, or is there a possibility it could just be misplaced?
2.) Is there a possibility the search could be groundless?
3.) Would a search of this nature prevent similar behavior in the future?
4.) Is the possibility for harm greater than the act itself?
It is only after these questions are considered can a decision be made Bibliography
Essex, N. L. (2005). Student privacy rights involving strip searches. Education and the
Law, 17(3), 105-110.
Shipman, N., Queen, A. J., & Peel, H. J. (2007). Transforming school leadership with
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Office of National Drug Control Policy. (2002). Prevention Not Punishment: Random Student Drug Testing. Retrieved from http://www.preventionnotpunishment.org/pdfs/WhatYouNeedToKnowAboutDrugTestingInSchools.pdf
Skiba, R., Reynolds, C. R., Graham, S., Sheras, P., Conley, C., Garcia-Vasquez. (2006)
Are zero tolerance policies effective in schools? An evidentiary review and reccommendations. Zero Tolerance Task Force Report, 1-15.
Stader, D. L. (2007). Law and ethics in educational leadership. Upper Saddle River, NJ:
Pearson Education, Inc.
Undergroud Action Allicance. (2003). Student rights. Underground Action Alliance Resources. Retrieved from http://www.undergroundactionalliance.org/resources.php?r_section=9
Wendell, A. (2002). School dress coade and uniform policies. Retrieved from ERIC
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Yell, M., & Rozalski, M. (2008). The impact of litigation and legislation on discipline and student behavior in the classroom. Preventing School Failure, 52(3), 7-16.