EDUC 333S: Legal Issues in Education

SYNOPSIS: This course is designed to introduce students to various legal issues facing the educational system in this country.  Included for consideration and discussion will be such topics as first amendment rights (religious freedom and free speech); Title IX; due process; liability of educational institutions and educators (negligence); contractual rights and obligations; and, student, staff, faculty and parental rights and privacy.  Whenever possible, legal distinctions will be made between elementary/secondary settings and institutions of higher education as well as between private and public institutions.

READER REQUIREMENTS: A legal background is helpful as students are writing an appellate brief as their main assignment. Readers should be familiar with education policy.

WRITING ASSIGNMENTS: Students write a persuasive, comprehensive appellate brief to include all legal arguments (50% of grade). Pairs of students will be assigned the role of plaintiff or defendant in a relevant, education law case.  Cases will be provided to students on January 31.  An outline of the brief is due on February 14 and a first draft is due on March 6 or March 20.  The final brief is due on the last day of class, April 24, 2020.  In addition to the brief, each pair is required to make an oral presentation of his/her research/brief to the class.

INSTRUCTOR SUGGESTIONS FOR READERS: In this class I focus on the student’s ability to construct an appellate brief with logical flow. They need to include:

  1. A statement of facts section
  2. A table of contents telling a compelling story about the appeal and why you should win
  3. Your strongest arguments
  4. Consider four factors: First, was the error preserved?  If not, there is no point in raising the error as an issue. Second, what is the applicable standard of review? Third, was the error harmless? Fourth, would the issue be inconsistent with prior case law from the court hearing your appeal or a higher court?

INTRODUCTORY MEETING: Please schedule your introductory meeting as soon as possible after you have received the matching email. Find details for the introductory meeting