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Top 10 Legal Issues in K-12 Education

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Laci Fisher

on 4 November 2012

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Transcript of Top 10 Legal Issues in K-12 Education

2. Changes in the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family Medical Leave Act
Amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) signed into law on September 25, 2008, clarify and reiterate who is covered by the law’s civil rights protections. The “ADA Amendments Act of 2008” revises the definition of “disability” to more broadly encompass impairments that substantially limit a major life activity. The amendments were put into place on January 1, 2009

2011 was a busy year for FMLA. The practical effect of the ADAAA on FMLA compliance is the increased crossover between ADA-protected disabilities and FMLA-protected serious health conditions. 1. Special Education & Student Privacy Education for students with disabilities has progressed immensely due to litigation and the legal framework supporting the topic. With educational access comes a right to student privacy.

In addition to the requirements of FERPA, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) provides additional privacy protections for students who are receiving special education and related services.

Along with FERPA regulations, there are IDEA-specific regulations to be followed. 6. Employee and student misuse of the Internet

7. Educator sexual misconduct

8. Mandatory Reporting


10. Freedom of Speech 3. Student Discipline Research shows that an emphasis on harsh, punitive practices, such as "zero tolerance" policies, does not improve school safety. Instead, student behavior and learning outcomes can be improved through the use of an evidence-based approach known as school-wide positive behavior support (PBIS).

Such an approach relies on teaching and reinforcing clear behavioral expectations, providing supports and interventions for students with challenging behaviors, and using alternatives to suspension or expulsion. 4. Finance Adequacy and Equity Issues The property tax is the primary source of local revenue for school districts, and property wealth varies significantly between districts within a state. As a result, districts with small property tax bases typically find it harder than those with large property tax bases to generate local revenue for schools.

Most times, the districts with the smaller property taxes are the ones trying the educate the most challenging students with the fewest resources.

Even though small efforts have been made by both state and federal governments, large disparities still occur within and between states. 5. Student Search & Seizure With the rise of "banned" items approaching and entering educational settings today, it is imperative to understand the legal framework of student search and seizure.

School officials need only have reasonable suspicion to conduct a search or seizure, instead of the probable cause standard required for police officers.

The reasonable suspicion standard has two steps in its analysis: 1) the search must be reasonable at its inception, and 2) the search must be reasonable in scope. Laci Fisher Top 10 Legal Issues: K-12 Education
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