Top 10 Legal Issues in K-12 Education

K-12 education is a complex, ever-changing system. As lawmakers and educators grapple with ways to keep students safe and provide them with a quality education, legal issues inevitably arise. Here are 10 of the most important legal issues in K-12 education.

1. Religious liberty:

Schools must allow students to practice their religion without harassment or discrimination but how this is implemented can be tricky. For example, a school may allow religious items in the classroom, but not allow prayer.

2. LGBT rights:

Schools must protect LGBT students from discrimination but should also allow for open discussion of gay rights. For example, a school may allow a gay-themed student club but condemn student discrimination against gay classmates.

3. Parental rights:

Parents have a right to direct their children’s education but this right can be limited by the school. For example, a school may require parents to send their children to mandatory assemblies or sign permission slips for extracurricular activities.

4. Gun control:

Schools must allow students to bring firearms to school if they have a legal permit but they may not allow students to bring guns into class.

5. Copyright law:

Schools must protect students’ intellectual property rights but they may not allow students to copy materials for their homework without permission.

6. School vouchers:

Schools may provide vouchers to parents that can be used to send their children to private schools. However, the government cannot financially support any specific type of school.

7. Teacher tenure:

Teachers have a right to tenure, which means that they cannot be fired without a good reason.

8. Educational materials:

Schools must allow parents to choose which educational materials their children are exposed to. However, the school may not allow parents to remove materials they find offensive.

9. Religious expression:

School officials must allow students to express their religious beliefs, but they may not encourage religious conversion.

10. School discipline:

Schools must discipline students as fairly as possible but they may use corporal punishment if it is deemed necessary.

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