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The Educator's Guide to Texas School Law

The Educator's Guide to Texas School Law
Ninth Edition

Now updated, here is the standard legal resource for Texas educators, which has sold nearly 95,000 copies.

August 2018
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504 pages | 6 1/8 x 9 1/4" |

Much has changed in the area of school law since the first edition of The Educator’s Guide was published in 1986. This new ninth edition offers an authoritative source on all major dimensions of Texas school law through the 2017 legislative sessions. Intended for educators, school board members, interested attorneys, and taxpayers, the ninth edition explains what the law is and what the implications are for effective school operations. It is designed to help professional educators avoid expensive and time-consuming lawsuits by taking effective preventive action. It is an especially valuable resource for school law courses and staff development sessions.

The ninth edition begins with a review of the legal structure of the Texas school system, incorporating recent innovative features such as charter schools and districts of innovation. Successive chapters address attendance, the instructional program, service to students with special needs, the rights of public school employees, the role of religion, student discipline, governmental transparency, privacy, parent rights, and the parameters of legal liability for schools and school personnel. The book includes discussion of major federal legislation, such as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Every Student Succeeds Act. On the state level, the book incorporates new laws pertaining to cyberbullying and inappropriate relationships between students and employees. Key points are illustrated through case law, and a complete index of case citations is included.

  • Ninth Edition
  • Preface
  • 1. An Overview of Education Law, Texas Schools, and Parent Rights
    • Sources of Law
      • Constitutional Law
      • Statutory Law
      • Administrative Law
      • Judicial Law
    • The Structure and Governance of the Texas School System
      • Texas Legislature
      • State Board of Education and the Texas Education Agency
      • Local School Districts
      • Charter Schools
      • Districts of Innovation
      • Private Schools
      • School Administrators
      • District- and Campus-Level Decision-Making
    • How the U.S. Constitution and Federal Government Affect Texas Schools
      • Key Provisions of the U.S. Constitution
      • Important Federal Statutes
    • School Finance
    • Parent Rights
      • Rights within Public Schools
      • Choosing Private Schools
      • Educating Children at Home
    • Summary
  • 2. Student Attendance and the Instructional Program
    • Attendance
      • Impermissible Discrimination
      • Residency, Guardianship, and the Right to Attend a District's Schools
      • The Compulsory School Attendance Law
      • Kindergarten and Prekindergarten Programs
      • Absences
    • Maintaining a Safe School Environment
    • The Instructional Program
      • The Required Curriculum
      • Student Assessment
      • School District Accountability
      • The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)
      • Removal of Objectionable Library and Study Materials
      • Technology at School: Computers, the Internet, and Cell Phones
      • The Federal Copyright Law
    • Extracurricular Activities and the UIL
    • Addressing the Needs of Special Groups
      • At-Risk Children
      • Bilingual Children
      • Gifted Children
      • Abused and Neglected Children
    • Summary
  • 3. Special Education
    • The Jargon of Special Education
    • Federal Legislation
      • Child Find, RtI, and a Major Controversy
      • Evaluation
      • Eligibility
      • ARD Committee
      • Individualized Education Program
      • General Curriculum
      • Statewide Assessments
      • Least Restrictive Environment
      • Procedural Safeguards
      • Attorneys' Fees
      • FAPE
      • Related Services
      • Extended School Year Services
      • Unilateral Placements
      • Private-School Children
    • Discipline of Students with Disabilities
      • Expulsion
      • Stay Put
      • Change of Placement
      • Ten Days
    • Manifestation Determinations
    • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
    • Summary
  • 4. The Employment Relationship
    • Constitutional Issues
      • Due Process of Law
      • How Much Process Is Due?
    • Types of Employment Arrangements
      • At-Will Employment
      • Non–Chapter 21 Contracts
      • Probationary Contracts
      • Term Contracts
      • Continuing Contracts
      • Third-Party Independent Contract Educators and Retire/Rehire
    • Selection of Staff
      • Certification and the Role of SBEC
      • Districts of Innovation
      • Nondiscrimination Laws
      • Protected Activity
      • The Hiring Process
      • Criminal Records
      • Impact of Federal Law
      • Restrictions on Employment
    • Ending the Relationship
      • At-Will Employees
      • Non–Chapter 21 Contracts
      • Probationary Contracts
      • Term Contracts
        • Contract Nonrenewal
        • Contract Termination
        • Professional Capacity
        • Dual-Assignment Contracts
        • Remedies
        • Reduction in Force (RIF)
      • Continuing Contracts
      • The Independent Hearing System
      • A Few Final Thoughts on "Good Cause"
      • Constructive Discharge
    • Summary
  • 5. Personnel Issues
    • Reassignment
      • The Constitutional Issues
      • Same Professional Capacity
      • Compensation Issues
      • Duties and Schedule
      • The Commissioner's Jurisdiction
    • Compensation Disputes
    • Teacher Appraisal
    • Employment Benefits
      • Districts of Innovation
      • Planning and Preparation Period
      • Duty-Free Lunch
      • Personal Leave
      • Health Insurance
      • Assault Leave
      • Teacher Retirement
      • Temporary Disability Leave
      • Family and Medical Leave Act
      • USERRA
      • Miscellaneous Leave Policies
    • Wage and Hour Requirements
    • Workers' Compensation and Unemployment Compensation
    • Grievances and the Role of Employee Organizations
      • Employee Grievances: A Little History
      • Hearing Employee Grievances
      • The Role of Employee Organizations
        • Collective Bargaining on the National Scene
        • The Law in Texas
    • Summary
  • 6. Expression and Associational Rights
    • Educator Rights of Expression
      • Expression outside the School
      • Expression within the School
        • School Mailboxes
        • Complaints over Working Conditions
        • Speaking within One's Scope of Employment
      • Electronic Communication
      • Academic Freedom
      • Texas Whistleblower Act
    • Educator Freedom of Association
    • Student Rights of Expression
      • Communication among Students on Campus
      • School-Sponsored Student Publications
      • Non-School-Sponsored Student Publications and Materials
      • Electronic Communication
    • Student Freedom of Association
    • Summary
  • 7. Religion in the Schools
    • Legal Framework
      • No Government Establishment of Religion
      • Free Exercise of Religion
        • Constitutional Provisions
        • Federal and State Statutes
    • Contemporary Issues
      • The Pledge of Allegiance
      • School Prayer
        • School-Sponsored or Employee-Led Prayer
        • Student-Delivered Prayer Before School Board Meetings
        • Silent Meditation
        • Invocations, Benedictions, and Religious Speeches at Graduation
        • Baccalaureate Ceremonies
        • Student-Initiated Prayer at School, Extracurricular Activities, and Athletic Events
      • Teaching Creation-Science
      • Secular Humanism and Pagan Religion
      • Religion in Classrooms, Choir Programs, and Holiday Observances
        • Teaching about Religion
        • Student Papers and Presentations on Religious Topics
        • Choir Programs and Holiday Observances
      • Clergy in the Schools
      • Distribution of Religious Literature
      • Wearing Religious Symbols
      • Student Religious Groups Meeting on Campus
      • Religious Exemptions
      • Assistance to Sectarian Private Schools
    • Summary
  • 8. Student Discipline
    • Constitutional Concerns: Due Process
    • Other Fundamental Issues
    • Chapter 37: An Overview
      • Student Code of Conduct
      • Campus Behavior Coordinators
      • Bullying
      • Teacher-Initiated Removal
      • Suspension
      • Removal to a DAEP
        • Mandatory Placements
        • Discretionary Placements
        • Procedure
        • Life in a DAEP
      • Expulsion
        • Grounds
        • Procedures
      • Emergency Actions
      • Interaction with Law Enforcement
    • Other Disciplinary Practices
      • Corporal Punishment
      • Suspension from Extracurricular Activities
    • A New Approach?
    • Summary
  • 9. Privacy Issues: Community, Educators, Students
    • The Legal Framework
      • The U.S. Constitution
      • Federal Statutes
      • State Law
    • The Texas Open Meetings and Public Information Acts
      • Texas Open Meetings Act
        • Meetings and Quorums
        • Notice
        • Emergency Meetings or Additions to Agenda
        • Closed Sessions
        • Tape Recordings and Certified Agendas
        • Meetings by Telephone and Videoconference Call
        • Internet Broadcast
        • Violations
        • Criminal Provisions
      • Texas Public Information Act
        • Items That Must Be Disclosed
        • Items Exempt from Disclosure
        • Personal Information
        • Applicants for Superintendency
        • Criminal History Information, Witness Statements, and Investigative Reports
        • Inter- or Intraagency Memoranda
        • Student Records
        • Other Items
        • Production of Records
    • Educator Privacy Rights
      • Lifestyle Issues
      • Employee Drug Testing
      • Personnel Records and Employee References
      • Search of School Computer Files and Pagers
      • Search of File Cabinets
    • Student Privacy Rights
      • Student Personal Privacy
      • Student Records
        • Parent Rights
        • Education Records
        • Disclosure of Records
        • Recordkeeping
        • Violations
      • Child Custody Issues
    • Student Dress and Grooming
    • Student Search and Seizure
      • Standards for Student Searches
      • Strip Searches
      • Use of Magnetometers, Metal Detectors, and Breathalyzers
      • Locker and Desk Searches
      • Search of Cell Phones and Electronic Communications
      • Use of Sniffer Dogs to Conduct Searches
      • Student Drug Testing
    • Summary
  • 10. Legal Liability
    • Identifying Areas of Legal Liability
    • State Torts
      • School District Immunity
      • Governmental Immunity and Contract Cases
      • Qualified Immunity for Public School Professional Employees
      • The Special Case of Corporal Punishment and Physical Force
      • Law and the School Counselor
      • A Word About Charter Schools
    • Federal Civil Rights Liability
      • Governmental Liability
      • Individual Liability
      • Personal Injuries and the Constitution
        • A Federally Protected Right
        • The District Itself Is Responsible
        • More Than Negligence
        • A New Theory
      • Liability under Federal Statutory Law
    • Summary
  • Appendixes
    • A.How to Find and Read a Court Case
    • B.Glossary of Legal Terminology
    • C.Reference Sources
  • Index of Cases
  • Index of Topics

Jim Walsh
Austin, Texas

Walsh is a cofounder of Walsh, Gallegos, Treviño, Russo & Kyle, P.C.; author of the Law Dawg Ed Daily; a director of the National Council of School Attorneys, and a recipient of the Kelly Frels Lifetime Achievement Award from the School Law Section of the State Bar of Texas.

Laurie Maniotis
Fort Worth, Texas

Maniotis S is an attorney and the Senior Employment Investigator for the City of Fort Worth Human Relations Commission. She formerly practiced education law and served as the editor of the Texas School Administrators’ Legal Digest.

Frank Kemerer
San Diego, California

Kemerer is Regents Professor-Emeritus of Education Law and Administration at the University of North Texas and founder of the Texas School Administrators’ Legal Digest.


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