Practical Lawyering Skills
588: Legal Issues in School Discipline
The legal issues surrounding student discipline in public elementary and secondary schools involve the intersection of Constitutional and statutory law with the administrative hearing process. By developing a working knowledge of the school disciplinary process, course participants will build analytical and substantive skills applicable to a wide variety of practice areas.
The course will address the Constitutional implications of student discipline and the statutory provisions governing student discipline and the administrative hearing process. Students will learn about `zero tolerance’ policies, the role that school discipline plays in the school-to-prison pipeline, and the discriminatory impact of school discipline policies. Issues relating to discipline in charter schools and discipline of students with disabilities will also be addressed. Other topics to be discussed include disciplinary-related challenges that arise in the context of protecting vulnerable children, including issues of harassment and bullying of LGBT and special needs children; and the legal tenets governing school districts responses to cyberbullying and the rise of social networks and digital media. Emerging trends in alternatives to punitive school discipline practices, such as human rights approaches, positive behavior interventions and supports, and restorative justice, will be examined.