Facebook Postings

K-12 Law School Series

Facebook Postings

Marilyn Gardner, lawyer, spent years teaching Advanced School Law at the university doctoral level. Her focus was court decisions at all levels of government which have had an impact on the governance of schools and what school personnel can do in terms of the operation of schools, curriculum, instruction, assessment and school personnel, and treatment of candidates. Marilyn Gardner, Lawyer, would always stress that failure to comply with school law can have far reaching and costly implications.

The K-12 School Law Series curriculum focuses on the Pearson Educational
Leadership Series books which focus on the major areas of school litigation and promotes an understanding of the principles of law that guide the governance and operations of schools while equipping school authorities with appropriate knowledge, skills and disposition to fulfill their
obligations to school-aged youngsters.


In her research, she identified four Pearson Educational Leadership Series books (https://www.amazon.com/School-Law-Public-Schools-Educational/dp/0137072759) that are valuable resources on these topics. They cover many facets of K-12 School Law and are important resources to empower school administrators and staff.

They are:
 Law and Ethics in Educational leadership, David Stader ISBN: 978-0-13-268587-0
 School Law and the Public Schools, Nathan Essex, ISBN: 978-0-13-707275-0
 A Teacher’s Pocket Guide to School Law, Nathan Essex, ISBN: 978-0-13-335191-0
 School Law: Cases and Concepts, Michael W. LaMorte, ISBN:978-0-13-707247-7


Pearson’s resources (https://www.pearson.com/us/sign-in.html) focus on the major areas of school-related litigation and the implications of court rulings for school leaders, teachers as well as the related changes in policy affecting the school environment. School staff will be empowered to deal in legally defensible ways with school- and community-based situations and remain current with school related law and policy.

Topic: Facebook Postings
Pearson Educational Leadership Series

 Sample Scenarios from: Law and Ethics in Educational leadership, David Stader (ISBN: 978-0-13-268587-0) and School Law and the Public Schools, Nathan Essex, ISBN: 978-0-13-707275-0

As you are probably aware, there are more than 800 million active users on Facebook, according to their own statistics. Although some students may claim that all of their Facebook postings are protected by the freedom of expression right afforded all citizens through the U.S. Constitution, there are circumstances when school leaders may take action to limit or eliminate this right under certain conditions.

Let’s work through a case scenario.

You have obtained access to some troubling Facebook postings made by David, a middle school student in your school. His highly derogatory postings are directed at his social studies teacher, Mr. Williams. David’s statements are inflammatory, and clearly untrue.

When you confront David and his parents, they tell you that the “satire” is cutting-edge and popular. Obviously, you just do not get it from your mundane school principal perspective. They substantiate their popularity claim by reporting that hundreds of David’s Facebook friends from school think it is hilarious. Furthermore, they do not understand why you are trying to infringe on David’s freedom of expression, since he writes the satire from his home computer. They also claim that it has nothing to do with school because it is located on his personal Facebook account. They accuse you of illegally trying to censor David’s creativity. They tell you to “mind your own business.”

Let’s legally review this scenario by answering the following four questions.

Question 1: Should you share David’s Facebook postings with Mr. Williams?

The main issue on which we will want to reflect is if there any professional liability if you fail to share the postings with him? You need to realize that you will acquire significant professional liability if you decide to not share this information with Mr. Williams. Many school leaders would consider a private meeting with Mr. Williams, to share David’s Facebook postings in a timely manner, as essential.

Question 2: What legal principle applies in this case?

The controlling question is Do you need to take action, or “mind your own business”?

The primary legal principle applicable in this case centers on whether there is a nexus (connection) between David’s Facebook posting and your school. Since the Facebook postings have admittedly been viewed by “hundreds of David’s Facebook friends from school” and potentially others, including parents, these untrue rants could significantly impact Mr. William’s status as a respected teacher in your school. Since there is a nexus, action is necessary.

Question 3:  Based on this legal principle, what action (if any) do you take? Since this is a school matter, do certain student policies apply?

Your applicable student code of conduct policies, acceptable use of technology policies, and/or other student policies should be fairly applied in this case. This student misbehavior, even though it occurred “out-of-school”, has become a school issue. As such, decisive administrative action is required.

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Out of School Student Misbehavior

K-12 Law School Series

Out of School Student Misbehavior

Marilyn Gardner, a lawyer, spent years teaching Advanced School Law at the university doctoral level. Her focus was court decisions at all levels of government which have had an impact on the governance of schools and what school personnel can do in terms of the operation of schools, curriculum, instruction, assessment and school personnel, and treatment of candidates. Marilyn Gardner, Lawyer, would always stress that failure to comply with school law can have far-reaching and costly implications.

The K-12 School Law Series curriculum focuses on the Pearson Educational Leadership Series books which focus on the major areas of school litigation and promotes an understanding of the principles of law that guide the governance and operations of schools while equipping school authorities with appropriate knowledge, skills, and disposition to fulfill their obligations to school-aged youngsters.

In her research, she identified four Pearson Educational Leadership Series books (https://www.amazon.com/School-Law-Public-Schools-Educational/dp/0137072759) that are valuable resources on these topics.  They cover many facets of K-12 School Law and are important resources to empower school administrators and staff.  They are:

Law and Ethics in Educational leadership, David Stader ISBN: 978-0-13-268587-0
School Law and the Public Schools, Nathan Essex, ISBN: 978-0-13-707275-0
A Teacher’s Pocket Guide to School Law, Nathan Essex, ISBN: 978-0-13-335191-0
School Law: Cases and Concepts, Michael W. LaMorte, ISBN:978-0-13-707247-7

Pearson’s resources (https://www.pearson.com/us/sign-in.html) focus on the major areas of school-related litigation and the implications of court rulings for school leaders, teachers as well as the related changes in policy affecting the school environment. School staff will be empowered to deal in legally defensible ways with school- and community-based situations and remain current with school-related law and policy.

Topic: Out of School Student Misbehavior

Pearson Educational Leadership Series
Sample Scenarios from: Law and Ethics in Educational leadership, David Stader (ISBN: 978-0-13-268587-0) and School Law and the Public Schools, Nathan Essex, ISBN: 978-0-13-707275-0

Today we are going to focus on Out of School Student Misbehavior. School leaders are generally familiar with their authority in disciplining students while attending a school or participating in school-sponsored activities. However, their disciplinary authority becomes severely limited when the alleged student misbehavior occurs out of school. Administrators need a certain set of Skills in this area.  for knowing, understanding, analyzing, and communicating include the following:

They need to:

  • Know I when to be the investigative Authority
  • Understand their Administrative Authority
  • Be able to Analyze Facts and Applying Legal Principles and
  • Communicate their Decisions

Let’s go into more detail for each.

Knowing Your Investigative Authority means the effective administrator knows when to question students accused of out of school misbehaviors.

Understanding your Administrative Authority means the effective administrator knows when to become involved and take action in out of school alleged student misbehaviors.

When Analyzing Facts and Applying Legal Principles – The effective administrator analyzes the facts surrounding a specific case and takes appropriate action based
on legal principles. and finally, The effective administrator tactfully and diplomatically communicate unpopular decisions.

Let’s discuss the following scenario. In this activity, you will answer the following questions, and then write a letter to a local store owner explaining the rationale for your decision. Mr. Al Fred, a community business owner and a significant financial supporter of your school’s athletic programs has complained again about two of your students.
Apparently, these students visit Mr. Fredd’s nearby variety store daily after school and cause problems. Specifically, they curse at him and his wife and are generally just rude. They also suspect that these students spray-paint graffiti on the back and sides of the store, although they cannot prove it. He wants you to do something. He is now threatening to withhold further substantial financial donations to your school. Furthermore, he intends to contact his best friend on the School Board to complain about your inaction.
Let’s legally review this scenario by answering the following four questions.

Question 1: Since the incident occurred outside of school, can the school principal legally discuss the matter with the students?

It is important to note that there a difference between fact-finding and taking adverse action against the students? Yes, the school principal may talk with the students about the allegations to obtain additional information. The results of this fact-finding investigation should assist the principal in deciding whether to take action for an out of school incident allegedly committed by these students.

Question 2: Under what conditions may a school principal legally take adverse action against students for out of school alleged misbehaviors?

The big question in this scenario is Does a school principal’s administrative authority differ for in-school and out of school student misbehavior? Yes, a school principal’s authority varies greatly depending on whether the student’s misbehavior occurs in-school or out of school. School principals enjoy wide authoritative latitude for in school incidents. Their authority, however, is severely limited for out of school student misbehaviors.

School leaders should act only if there’s a nexus (direct connection) between the alleged out of school incident and the school. For example, two students fighting at the mall on Saturday does not necessarily create a nexus with the school. Therefore, principals should not become involved. If on the other hand, the students vow to continue fighting when they arrive at school on Monday, it becomes a school matter. Principals should, therefore, take decisive action, such as meeting with both students immediately upon their arrival.

Question 3: In this case, does the principal have the legal authority to take action?

Although the students are enrolled in your school and their behavior is regrettable, their alleged misbehavior has no nexus with your school (their misbehavior at Mr. Fred’s store is not being exhibited in your school). Therefore, you have no legal authority to take adverse action against these students.

Question 4: What could you do to help the situation?

As noted earlier, the store owner is a significant financial supporter of your school. One suggestion is to write a letter that is direct, yet diplomatic.

Student Searches

K-12 Law School Series

Student Searches
Marilyn Gardner, a lawyer, spent years teaching Advanced School Law at the university doctoral level. Her focus was court decisions at all levels of government which have had an impact on the governance of schools and what school personnel can do in terms of the operation of schools, curriculum, instruction, assessment and school personnel, and treatment of candidates. Marilyn Gardner, Lawyer, would always stress that failure to comply with school law can have far-reaching and costly implications.
The K-12 School Law Series curriculum focuses on the Pearson Educational Leadership Series books which focus on the major areas of school litigation and promotes an understanding of the principles of law that guide the governance and operations of schools while equipping school authorities with appropriate knowledge, skills and disposition to fulfill their obligations to school-aged youngsters.
In her research, she identified four Pearson Educational Leadership Series books
(https://www.amazon.com/School-Law-Public-Schools-Educational/dp/0137072759) that are valuable resources on these topics. They cover many facets of K-12 School Law and are important resources to empower school administrators and staff.
They are:
● Law and Ethics in Educational leadership, David Stader ISBN: 978-0-13-268587-0
● School Law and the Public Schools, Nathan Essex, ISBN: 978-0-13-707275-0
● A Teacher’s Pocket Guide to School Law, Nathan Essex, ISBN: 978-0-13-335191-0
● School Law: Cases and Concepts, Michael W. LaMorte, ISBN:978-0-13-707247-7
Pearson’s resources (https://www.pearson.com/us/sign-in.html) focus on the major areas
of school-related litigation and the implications of court rulings for school leaders, teachers as well as the related changes in policy affecting the school environment. School staff will be empowered to deal in legally defensible ways with school- and community-based situations and remain current with school-related law and policy.
Topic:
Student Searches
Pearson Educational Leadership Series
●Sample Scenarios from:

Law and Ethics in Educational leadership, David Stader

(ISBN: 978-0-13-268587-0) and School Law and the Public Schools, Nathan Essex,

ISBN: 978-0-13-707275-0
Today we are going to explore the issue Conducting Student Searches. Generally, students in public school are protected against unreasonable search and seizure as ensured by the Fourth Amendment. The 1969 case State v. Stein determined that a students’ freedom from unreasonable search and seizure must be balanced against the need to maintain order and protect the safety and health of students. In the ruling, judges determined that school officials did not need to have evidence to prove probable cause nor secure a warrant like the police. Instead, school officials are held only to a standard of
reasonable suspicion.
It is important for school leaders to understand the conditions determining when the reasonable suspicion standard has been reached making a search permissible.
The Case of the Police Tip
You are the principal of a high school. One morning you receive a phone call from a local police officer. The police received a tip from a community member and parent in your school that a specific student was seen exchanging money for a bag of a “suspicious white power” with an adult at one of your bus stops this morning. The police officer indicated that he did not have enough evidence to secure a warrant to search the student but asked if you could conduct a search.
This particular student had a history of drug use at school and had been suspended for a drug infraction in the past. As a result, you called the student into your office and noticed that their eyes were dilated and they seemed to slur their speech. You asked them to empty their pockets and remove their shoes. In the student’s sock, you found a bag with white powder. At that point, you contacted the police and they arrived at the school.
You turned over the contraband to the police and the student was arrested and taken away in handcuffs. You then contacted the student’s parents about the incident. The parents were very angry and threaten to sue you for conducting an illegal search and “illegally handing over the contraband to the police”. Let’s legally review this scenario by answering the following four questions.
Question 1:
Was the search of the student legal?
Let’s look at what the Fourth Amendment says about legal searches in public schools? What does case law say about legal searches in public schools? Was the tip from the police reasonable? Was the tip from the police enough to conduct the search?
The correct answer is yes. The 1985 case New Jersey v. T. L. O., Supreme Court of the United States ruled that public school searches could be conducted if a school official has reasonable suspicion that a search is warranted. The reason to suspect is a less rigorous requirement than the standard of “probable cause” required by police officers.
Suspicion implies an opinion based on some facts but does not amount to evidence that shows proof. Probable cause required by the police to obtain a warrant to conduct a search was clearly delineated as requiring more than mere suspicion as defined in the description by James Madison in the Fourth Amendment where “legal and sufficient cause” for issuing a warrant of search is required.
Case law has established that a student’s freedom from unreasonable search must be balanced with the schools need to protect students health and safety, and thus, a lower standard of evidence exist. The T.L.O. case helped determine the definition of reasonable suspicion including a need for evidence, which is collected beforehand to determine that a search of a particular student for a particular illegal item is warranted at the inception of the search.
In other words, the measures of the search must be reasonably related to the objective of the search. A search is not reasonable if it lacks specificity as defined by the previously collected evidence. It should also be noted that a search need not produce the suspected illegal contraband, only that the standard of reasonable suspicion be met prior to the inception of the search.
Question 2:
Was it illegal for the principal to work with the police in a search as described in this case study?
Let’s look at What the case law says about police versus school involvement in a search? Was it important for the principal to conduct the search or could the principal had given permission for law enforcement to conduct the search? Is the timing of police involvement critical? The answer is no. Case law makes it clear that a school search instigated and conducted by the police must be accompanied by a search warrant. However, the principal, in this case, had physical evidence and prior student history of drug use that in combination established reasonable suspicion to conduct the search.
The phone tip from the police added additional evidence to conduct the search; however, the source of the tip is not germane to the case. Namely, the call could have come from anyone and combined with the existing evidence, warranted the principal’s search.
Upon conducting the search and finding illegal contraband, it was then appropriate for the principal to contact the police, turn over the illegal substances, and cooperate in the police report.

Student Suspension and Due Process Rights

K-12 Law School Series

Student Suspension and Due Process Rights

Marilyn Gardner, a lawyer, spent years teaching Advanced School Law at the university doctoral level. Her focus was court decisions at all levels of government which have had an impact on the governance of schools and what school personnel can do in terms of the operation of schools, curriculum, instruction, assessment and school personnel, and treatment of candidates. Marilyn Gardner, Lawyer, would always stress that failure to comply with school law can have far-reaching and costly implications.

The K-12 School Law Series curriculum focuses on the Pearson Educational Leadership Series books which focus on the major areas of school litigation and promotes an understanding of the principles of law that guide the governance and operations of schools while equipping school authorities with appropriate knowledge, skills and disposition to fulfill their obligations to school-aged youngsters.

In her research, she identified four Pearson Educational Leadership Series books (https://www.amazon.com/School-Law-Public-Schools-Educational/dp/0137072759) that are valuable resources on these topics.  They cover many facets of K-12 School Law and are important resources to empower school administrators and staff.  They are:

  • Law and Ethics in Educational leadership, David Stader ISBN: 978-0-13-268587-0
  • School Law and the Public Schools, Nathan Essex, ISBN: 978-0-13-707275-0
  • A Teacher’s Pocket Guide to School Law, Nathan Essex, ISBN: 978-0-13-335191-0
  • School Law: Cases and Concepts, Michael W. LaMorte, ISBN:978-0-13-707247-7

Pearson’s resources (https://www.pearson.com/us/sign-in.html) focus on the major areas of school-related litigation and the implications of court rulings for school leaders, teachers as well as the related changes in policy affecting the school environment. School staff will be empowered to deal in legally defensible ways with school- and community-based situations and remain current with school-related law and policy.

Topic: Student Suspension and Due Process Rights

Pearson Educational Leadership Series

  • Sample Scenarios from: Law and Ethics in Educational leadership, David Stader (ISBN: 978-0-13-268587-0) and School Law and the Public Schools, Nathan Essex, ISBN: 978-0-13-707275-0

The legal concept of procedural due process has been around at least since the Magna Carte of 1215. Also known as ‘common law’, the procedural due process gives a person a fundamental right to a hearing.

Outside the public school setting, the hearing generally requires that the charges be shared with the accused and that the accused have a chance to present their side of the story. In the Fifth and 14th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, due process is required before the state deprive someone of “life, liberty, or property”.

However, it was not until the 1961 case Dixon v. Alabama State Board of Education that Constitutional due process guarantees were applied to students facing expulsion from a public college. Later cases confirmed that suspension of public school students also required substantive and procedural due process; especially in the case of long-term suspension; defined as 10 days or longer.

Let’s study this issue using the following case scenario.

You are the principal of a high school. Yesterday, you disciplined a student, your star quarterback on the school football team, for use of alcohol. Upon the student’s arrival at school, you observed that the student was disoriented, had glassy eyes, slurred speech and a strong smell of alcohol on him. After some discussion, you concluded that

the student was intoxicated. A search of the student’s locker produced a half-empty

bottle of whiskey.

Despite the evidence, the student insisted that he had not been drinking and claimed not to know where the alcohol came from, suggesting that it may belong to his locker partner. Additionally, the student suggested that his physical symptoms were probably the result of cold medication. In reviewing the student records, you were reminded that the student had already been disciplined for possession of alcoholic containers in his vehicle at a football game earlier this year.

Your district policy required the student to be suspended for 10 days. The student begged you to waive the discipline because the state playoff games were starting that weekend. However, you went ahead with the prescribed discipline. You explained the infraction and the assigned discipline action both verbally and on a written discipline notice. A copy of the notice was mailed home with an attachment describing the parent’s right to appeal your discipline decision. Despite the suspension, this morning the student returned to school handing you a letter from his parents appealing your decision and asking for a hearing. The student has been spending the day bragging to everyone how he will still be able to attend school and play in the upcoming football games. Several teachers have been in your office demanding that the student be sent home and suspended from playing in the games, citing that his presence in school is creating a “mockery of the discipline of this school”.

In addition, your ability to lead effectively is being questioned if you do not take action to remove the student immediately. You have also taken a call from the school athletic booster club president and a school board member threatening to “run you out of town” if your actions result in the student not playing in the ball games and in the school losing their first chance at a state title in decades.

Let’s legally review this scenario by answering the following questions.

Question 1: Has the principal in this case study provided adequate due process for a suspension of 10 days?

Let’s see what the 14th Amendment says about required due process in the case of a suspension from a public school? What does case law say about required due process in the case of a suspension from a public school? What does state law and school policy say about required due process in the case of a suspension from a public school?

The correct answer is yes. The 1975 case Goss v. Lopez ruled that a suspension of 10 days or more from school denied a student of both substantive property and liberty interests as guaranteed by the 14th Amendment. They cited that a 10-day suspension from school was not a trivial loss of education and required the provision of procedural due process.

The Goss case required the following due process for all suspensions:

• Oral or written notice of the charges against the student

• If the students deny the charges, an explanation of the evidence against them

• An opportunity to present his side of the story

The court indicated that these three procedures could be conducted immediately between the principal and the student and that no formal hearing was required prior to the administration of the discipline.

However, both the Goss case as well as the 1961 case Dixon v. Alabama State Board of Education, Fifth Circuit indicated that suspensions of 10 days or longer would need to also provide more formal due process procedures.

The Dixon case suggested the right to a more formal hearing, including a right to an attorney at a hearing, the names of the witnesses against the student, a written report of the facts in the case, an opportunity to present to an appeals board, and the ability to call witnesses on their behalf.

Question 2

Is the student allowed to attend school and play in the football games pending the conclusion of the appeal hearing?

Once again, what does the 14th Amendment say about required due process in the case of a 10-day or more suspension from a public school? What does case law say about required due process in the case of a 10-day or more suspension from a public school? What does state law and school policy say about required due process in the case of a suspension from a public school?

The answer is yes. Using the Dixon case and recommendations in the Goss case, a more formal due process procedure is required. Using the due process steps suggested in the Dixon case, most school districts have developed policies for long term suspensions of 10 days or more to include these additional due process steps:

• An opportunity to appeal the Principal’s discipline in writing, and request a formal hearing before the superintendent and school board.

• An opportunity to continue to attend school and be presumed innocent until the conclusion of the formal hearing before, and the decision of the school board. In addition, some states have provided even further due process for long-term suspensions. For example, in the 1985 case in re Roberts, 150 N.C. App. 86, 563 S.E. 2d 37, the court ruled that students in North Carolina had the right to be represented by an attorney in the hearing, to confront and cross-examine witnesses, and to call witnesses on their behalf. In regard to this case study, the principal is obligated to allow the student to continue to attend school until the formal appeals hearing is concluded.

Why Working in Higher Education is One of the Most Rewarding Careers

With its rewarding challenges and personal benefits, a career in academia is often a dream job for people who highly value a sense of deep satisfaction in their working life. Here are just a few reasons why working in higher education can be one of the most life-changing decisions that a person can make, and why now might be a great time to prepare for a career in the academic world.

  1. Benefits and Job Stability

Despite earning lower salaries than their peers in the private sector, workers in higher education are often drawn to their line of work by the job security and benefits that go hand in hand with a career in the field. Moreover, while many companies in the private sector tend to let go of staff during economic downturns, colleges and universities are often reluctant to introduce employee layoff policies even in recessions; for people who value job security over a hefty paycheck, that can be a major incentive to work in academia.

  1. Making a Difference

For many professionals who work in higher education, the chance to make a positive impact on the lives of students is often a motivating factor to succeed in academia. Whether it’s through helping promising students secure scholarship funds or by making sure that recent graduates are fully prepared to enter the job market, administrators in higher education often help students to lead more fulfilling and productive lives. That kind of work provides a sense of satisfaction that is difficult to replicate in other fields, and it helps explain why so many workers in academia can’t imagine building a career anywhere else.

  1. Bringing Passion Into the Equation

Many people start their careers in higher education because they love the atmosphere of learning that permeates university life. Indeed, having a passion for learning is a great motivator for those who dedicate their lives to helping students succeed, and this ability to love one’s work in the face of long days and stressful decisions often makes a career in higher education feel more like a calling than a job.

For the right person, the decision to work in academia can be a life-changing and deeply fulfilling choice. The pay might be higher in other sectors of the economy, but employees of colleges and universities often find that life in the ivory tower suits them just fine. And as more and more people are discovering, workers in higher education might just be on to something!

 

Why Foreign Aid is Important for the Children of Africa

Marilyn Gardner Milton’s Latest Blog Entry

Africa is geographically the second most populous continent in the world with a population of 1.2 billion people. For a long period now, Africa has been a center of global humanitarian efforts, with aid being channeled into the elevation of human suffering from various adversities. No doubt Africa needs foreign to help its citizens live modest and suffering-free lives. Of all the possible reasons why Africa needs foreign aid, two, in particular, stand out.

Poor economic profile

African countries have for long been struggling to maintain a sound economic profile that can support its citizens to maintain modest lives. The countries, however, pelted by adverse economic profiles and severely impaired production of goods and services, are unable to achieve this objective. Little is produced in African countries that can be exported into other countries of the world to support a balance of trade. Being unable to produce goods and services, therefore, implies that most countries in the continent have their citizens live below as a single dollar per day in terms of income and expenditure.

African countries’ economies are therefore significantly impaired to support incomes for the 1.2 billion residents. Most African countries like Rwanda, Ethiopia, and Mozambique heavily rely on foreign financial aid. These countries have their annual budgets financed up to 50% by foreign aid. Failure to locate foreign aid to such developing countries would imply a major economic downturn that would plunge millions of citizens into abject poverty.

Alleviation of suffering

African countries are faced with other adversities of various dimensions ranging from diseases to natural calamities. Disease is a major issue that affects African countries, prompting the need for humanitarian intervention. Conditions such as measles and polio that are regarded eradicated from other parts of the world are still considered prominent in Africa.

With such a poor economic profile, African countries are unable to inject the necessary resources required to combat such diseases effectively. Aid in the form of vaccines, medication, healthcare infrastructure, and healthcare aid workforce has to be channeled to African countries for the governments to keep up with the rising demand for expenditure in healthcare service provision. Without such foreign aid, African citizens would continue dying of mild and curable conditions such as malaria.

Also, more than half of African landscape is covered by desert and semi-desert conditions which cannot support agricultural production. Food is therefore scarce, leaving millions exposed to hunger while thousands die of the same annually. The continent, therefore, needs attention in the form of foreign aid.

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With this in mind, please consider giving to the Ebenezer Foundation. A donation of $85 can feed and educate a child for an entire month. The foundation feeds a total of 452 children a day. All 100% of the donations go directly to the children. To donate today, click here!

from Marilyn Gardner Milton’s Website https://ift.tt/2PGHYkg

How Attorneys Can Give Back This Holiday Season

Marilyn Gardner Milton’s Latest Blog Post

Who knows what exactly it is, but we can all agree that there is a particular type of magic in the air during the holidays. People gain patience, offer compassion, and smiles can be seen in all directions. So naturally, the holidays are a time when people want to give back to their community and to those who are less fortunate.

The feeling of giving back is so widespread that many states have created different coalitions, programs, and opportunities for attorneys to give back through pro-bono work. For example, just last December, over 50 lawyers came together to learn about becoming pro bono volunteers in Baltimore at the American Bar Association’s Homeless Youth Legal Network Pro Bono. Equipping attorneys of different types of law with cultural competency training on youth issues, such as trauma, homelessness, and more, the Homeless Youth Initiative (HYI) provides ongoing support to lawyer-client relationships in efforts of creating sustainable change.

In Chicago, the Young Lawyers Section (YLS) coordinates several volunteer programs for lawyers to give back to the community and gain pro bono experience. Current programs include the Dear Santa Letter Campaign, Law Week, Wills for Heroes, Serving Our Seniors, and more.

The DC Pro Bono Center has a volunteer interest form where attorneys can sign up to receive monthly emails announcing pro bono training and opportunities in D.C. The website also offers pro bono programs for individuals, firms, non-bar members, and more.

The Massachusetts Bar Association boasts the importance of volunteering to Massachusetts attorneys. On the MassBar website, there are currently 15 programs listed for attorneys to give back and increase connections within the attorney volunteer community. MassProBono.org is another website designed to help lawyers efficiently find pro bono work that fits their schedule.

The avenues for giving back are endless. Outside of enrolling in state and company programs, here are a few more ways to get involved and share the holiday spirit:

  • Sponsor a cause. This could mean donating money or time to a foundation or charity or recruiting the whole firm to do some meaningful work for a worthwhile cause.
  • Get On Board. A great way to give back to the community is by volunteering to serve as the legal professional for a non-profit organization. It is a fundamental role that every nonprofit need.
  • Immigrants. Nothing reminds you of the importance of family like the holidays. Use those fuzzy-good feelings to help get a detained immigrant home to their family. The American Immigrant Lawyers Association is seeking volunteers to represent undocumented citizens in immigration court.

from Marilyn Gardner Milton | Lawyer & Volunteer https://ift.tt/2QqLqnz

Volunteerism in Action: Ashley Hrenak

Marilyn Gardner Milton’s Latest Blog Post

The Ebenezer Foundation is a United States-based 501 (c) 3 not-for-profit organization which provides support to the Ebenezer Child Care Trust in Zambia, Africa. This organization serves impoverished and orphaned children living in Livingstone through the assistance of donor contributions. Its mission not only carries out the work of saving, raising, and educating children, but also works to provide the children the opportunity to live a better and more productive life. The foundation serves the community by supporting and operating an orphanage, primary school, and farm.

Volunteers all over the world comprise the Ebenezer Foundation; they provide funding and also volunteer their time. While some volunteers are already based in Africa, many travel to Zambia to provide service and to cultivate relationships with the volunteers and children in Livingstone.

Texas A&M University student, Ashley Hrenak, recently joined the organization’s cause and traveled to Zambia to volunteer with the Ebenezer Child Care Trust.

When describing her visit Ashley shared the impact of her experience: “This past July, I traveled over 24 hours to a small school called Ebenezer. I didn’t have the slightest clue what to expect upon arrival, though there would have been no way to prepare my heart for all of the love, joy, singing, dancing, beauty, and smiles that would greet me with open arms. Ebenezer has completely changed my life. I came to Livingstone, Zambia knowing no one and somehow left with over 400 beautiful, compassionate, smart, humble, God loving friends.”

“These kids have given me far more than I could have ever given them. They have touched my heart and taught me more than 14 years of school could have ever taught me. God has blessed me in the most beautiful way possible and I thank Him, with all my heart, for showing me this oasis of love. I am in love with Ebenezer and cannot wait to return.” She concludes fondly, “Zikomo Ebenezer.”

Foundation volunteers support all of the U.S-based Ebenezer Foundation’s administrative costs. As a result, the organization takes pride in its ability to pledge all of its donations to the Ebenezer Child Care Trust.

from Marilyn Gardner Milton | Volunteering https://ift.tt/2Nrw9Ba

Everyone Can Benefit from Going to Law School

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Some may argue that going to law school isn’t for everyone. I would disagree. No matter what you wish to do with your career, attending law school is something that can benefit every American both personally and professionally. Here are just a few of the benefits that come from the three years of law school studies.

Knowing your rights
This may be the biggest benefit of attending law school. Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you thought “is this legal?” or “what are my rights on this situation?” By attending a law school, you can answer these questions for yourself instead of having to seek out and pay for a lawyer. There are many circumstances where knowing your rights can play out in your favor. As an American citizen, a tenet, an employee, or any other facet of life, knowing the law can help you from making a quick assumption that might end in consequential results.

Ability to stand up for injustice
The pursuit of becoming a lawyer can help you in knowing what is legal and what isn’t. For example, many people who receive a parking ticket will grumble about the ticket (who doesn’t when they see those pesky white slips tucked under the windshield wiper) but then give in to paying the fee. By attending law school, you will know the read the small print on everything, even things like parking tickets. By no means are you above the law because you have your J.D., but you will know how to interpret the law and use it to your advantage.

Negotiation skills
The three years of prep for becoming a lawyer will surely prepare you for any argument or negotiation for the rest of your life. Everything in life is negotiable. In your professional career, this could mean knowing how to ask for a raise and what counter-argument you can give if you’re denied. Personally, it helps you understand both sides of situations which can aid in strengthening all of your relationships.

Effective communication
If you’ve known anyone who’s been to law school, you’ll know how much their courses require communication in the form or writing and speaking. These classes are designed to help future lawyers be purposeful in the way they communicate with others. Things like strategy and alternative outcomes are things most people don’t always consider, but spend a few years in law school and you’ll begin to think about these each time you’re connecting with a friend or colleague.

from Marilyn Gardner Milton’s Website https://ift.tt/2l20yq2

Inspirational Commencement Speeches: Former President Obama

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Former President Obama spoke at the Barnard College 2012 commencement ceremony. He began his speech by comparing the class that sat in front of him to his graduating class of 1983 from Barnard’s sister school, Columbia University.

Much like those of 1983, these young graduates were about to set out into a world where the United States was still recovering from a severe economic recession. A recession which claimed more than five million jobs. They saw their parents putting off their retirement; watched friends who had already graduated struggling to find employment. The picture of their future is concerning and unsure, especially as women in a world that has yet to fully offer equal pay for equal work. Even with the plethora of growth of opportunities for women in the past three decades, there are still so many struggles women have to endure.

Obama goes on to encourage the class of 2012 to have a can-do spirit which is the lifeblood of American history. Not all Americans are fortunate enough to receive the skills and training this class of graduates had received at Barnard, but with their help, one day that will no longer be the case.

The challenges we face will always be solvable, but the question is whether we can bring forth the changes that we need. That will to bring about change in our own lives, in institutions, and politics lives inside each of us. Women are no longer just half of the population; they’re now half of the workforce. Thanks to the long strides of women before them, female graduates are now shaping not only their destiny but the destinies of all those across the globe.

Do more than just getting involved. We are a nation that is more than static; we are dynamic. Our focus is faced forwards, not back. New doors are opening every day, and you must seize these opportunities. Not everyone has been given the opportunities that lie ahead for the recent college graduates, so it’s imperative that these opportunities are acted upon when presented.

Lead by example and never underestimate the power that this holds. Earning a degree opens so many new possibilities. A great way to give back is by encouraging another young girl to earn her degree as well. Become a role model, be someone’s mentor. Until you’re able to imagine yourself as what you wish to become, you won’t be able to achieve it.

What the last piece of advice Obama offers is to persevere because nothing worthwhile will ever come easily. Failure is inevitable but what sets apart those who eventually succeed is the ability to learn from failure and refusal to quit.

from Marilyn Gardner Milton’s Website https://ift.tt/2qNf8nT