Three Education Trends to Watch

Technology is rapidly evolving, and subsequently, it has the power to transform different industries as well. Though schools and academia have not traditionally been the quickest to pick up on digital trends, that doesn’t mean that change isn’t happening. Today we’re exploring three education trends to watch. 

Artificial Intelligence

Businesses have been harnessing the power of artificial intelligence for its ability to rapidly process vast quantities of data and generate insights. Soon, the education sector can also be transformed with the adoption of this technology. Artificial intelligence is capable of performing tasks such as speech recognition, language translation, and decision-making. The best application for it so far is as a teaching tool, although supporters say that it may help to alleviate teacher shortages in the future. In the classroom, artificial intelligence is being used for personalized learning

Virtual Reality

According to education researcher Melissa Pelletier, “creative learning spaces play an important role in student engagement.” Virtual reality can do just that by creating immersive learning environments for students and help them to experience things like history, travel, and even STEM programs. Imagine virtual field trips through time and space that allow students a deeper and more personal understanding of the material. Products like Google Expeditions and various phone apps aim to make virtual reality affordable and accessible for all.  

Blockchain

Blockchain is a technology used to connect, house, and encrypt digital data. Through blockchain, the stored data is not centralized in any one location, making it publicly accessible, easily tracked, and very difficult to corrupt. As such, this has the potential to revolutionize the way that student and faculty records are stored, among a myriad of other possible applications.

Artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and blockchain the three digital trends at the top of our list for the 2019-2020 school year. What are some other trends in education that you think we should watch for in the coming year?  

This article was originally published on MarilynGardnerMilton.org

Student Drug Testing

K-12 Law School Series

Student Drug Testing

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: Student Drug Testing

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

By way of precedent, the first major Supreme Court case that dealt with the legality of random drug testing in a public school occurred in 1995.  The school in the case required random urinalysis for testing as a prerequisite for participating in sports. The school, at the time, was dealing with an increase in disciplinary problems including rudeness in classes and outbursts of profane language. (Veronia School District v Acton)

There was no evidence that the student in question used drugs. However, the parents of a seventh-grade student refused to sign the consent form for drug testing for him to play football. Consequently, he was suspended from athletics. The parents claimed unreasonable intrusion.

The Supreme Court ruled that the school district based its decision on an earlier landmark case (New Jersey v. T.L.O) which ruled that school officials had greater latitude to search students in the school environment to maintain conduct.

It is interesting that the court in Veronia ruled that this type of environment could be considered “special needs in that it warranted “suspicion-less testing” of athletes as a condition for their participation.  The court ruled that “students within the school environment have less expectation of privacy than members of the population in general and that student athletes have even less legitimate privacy expectations than non-athletes.”

The court further ruled that under the drug detection program, the collection of urine, its testing, and disclosure of results were unobtrusive. The court also noted the program served an important governmental interest to deter drug use.

However, you should know that the dissenting justices were vocal in disagreeing with the majority.

But in another split 5 to 4 court decision in 2002 (Pottawatonimi Count v Earls ) the court once again upheld random drug testing of students in any extracurricular activities. This case was different in that it allowed drug testing of students who wanted to be part of any school sponsored club or activity, not just athletics.  They also reiterated that school officials only needed “reasonable suspicion” and not the higher standard to probable cause

The dissenting judges in this case felt that the “special needs” outlined in Veronia were not present. In fact, the Superintendent testified that drugs were not a major issue in the school as outlined in the Veronia case. The courts also did not like that it was drug testing of all extracurricular activities, versus the athletes where there is the risk of immediate physical harm.

However, the court, once again noted that there was a strong government interest in having drug free schools. In the final analysis, the courts are viewing the problems school districts are dealing with drugs and as such, warrant the testing.  It is the price a student must pay if they want to play sports.

School athletes are commonly required to consent to drug testing as a condition of their participation in a particular sport. Some schools have attempted to broaden this requirement to students participating in all extracurricular activities. School leaders need to appropriately apply legal principles in these circumstances.

Trickle Down or Unreasonable Search:

Drug Testing of Students Participating In Extracurricular Activities

Jenny’s parents are refusing to sign a consent form authorizing the school to conduct random urinalysis testing for drug use on their daughter. Because of their refusal, Jenny will not be allowed to participate in band, or other extracurricular school activities. Although you provide them a copy of the School Board policy requiring the signed consent form as a prerequisite for participating in extracurricular activities, they want you to make an exception because it is just unfair to drug test an academically high achieving student.

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

Question 1: Should you make the requested exception? What are the implications of making the exception?

An exception, for the stated reason, should be avoided for several reasons. First, it is generally inaccurate that academically high achieving students are immune from drug use. Secondly, this exception will likely stimulate many other requests for the same reason. As you make additional exceptions, you are technically undermining School Board policy.

Question 2: What’s the legal principle applicable in this situation? What’s the precedent setting case?

The U.S. Supreme Court in Board of Education of Independent School District No. 92 of Pottawatomie County v. Earls (122 S. Ct. 2559), authorized drug tests for middle school students participating in several extracurricular activities. The scope of student drug testing was significantly expanded in this case from just athletes, to students participating in various extracurricular activities. In Jenny’s situation, therefore, it would be legally permissible to deny her participation in band until the parental consent form is signed, based on this Supreme Court case.

Question 3: In this U.S. Supreme Court case, the ruling was directly applicable to specific

extracurricular activities in this particular school. Could this decision be used to include other extracurricular activities?

How do precedent setting cases affect future school practices?

In the Board of Education of Independent School District No. 92 of Pottawatomie County v. Earls (122 S. Ct. 2559), the following extracurricular were specifically mentioned in the ruling: band, color guard, choir, Future Farmers of America, Future Homemakers of America, and the school’s athletic and academic teams. However, this precedent setting case establishes a solid legal foundation to require drug testing consent as a perquisite for participation.

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.

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!