Legal precedents impact on education

Students Rights

Tinker V. Des Moines Independent Community School District.
  • Students suspended for publicly showing their support of truce for the Vietnam war, by wearing black arm bands.
  • The school assumed that this would cause disturbances.
  • The court found that school officials cannot prohibit an opinion only to avoid the discomfort of a student expression unless it interferes with school activities or the rights of others.
  • Students' are protected under freedom of speech and expression.

Teacher Action

  • Teachers cannot take away students rights at school and restrict them. Allow student's the freedom of speech and expression unless they are being obscene, promoting illegal behavior, or causing significant disruption or invading the rights of others.
  • Able to limit some of student's freedom of expression, to help protect students identity, privacy, personal and religious beliefs, and provide safety.
  • Teach students about their freedom of speech. Teach them how they can utilize their freedom, but yet steer away from being harassing, insulting, or offensive.


  • Every student has different views, ideas, beliefs, etc. With freedom of speech/expression everyone is allowed to have those differences and share those differences without being reprimanded or forced to conform.
  • Teach students how they can speak freely on ideals, politics, race, religion, nationality, gender etc. all the while by being respectful.


  • Cyber speech is used frequently by students. On social media, email, websites etc.
  • Students are just as much protected by their freedom of speech/expression online.
  • They have a very broad freedom to express themselves on their own time, and other than on school computers.
  • Schools typically cannot censor student speech unless they have reasonable forecast that the speech will cause disruption of the school environment or invade the rights of others.

Students Benefits

  • Students can express their viewpoints as long as it's not obscene, promote illegal behavior, or causes significant disruption with the rights of others.
  • State laws provide more speech protection than the Supreme Court, which means that in some states, student's have the complete right to exercise freedom of speech and the press, in school-related activities and publications.
  • Students benefit by these laws as they are protected from threatening language and language that may be offensive.

Teachers Professional Rights

Norwalk Teachers’ Association v. Board of Education

A 1951 Connecticut Supreme Court decision validated the right of the teachers’ union to organize a labor union and to engage in collective bargaining but prohibited it from striking. The Norwalk decision allowed boards of education to enter into agreements submitting disputes to binding arbitration, so long as they did not interfere with any of their statutory rights, such as “the decision of a proceeding to discharge a teacher for just cause.”'%20ASSN.%20v.%20BOARD%20OF%20EDUCATION

Teacher Action

Join a union, like the NEA, for protection. A union will help in contract negotiations, in any school related legal matters, and there to make sure teachers are only being terminated for "just cause" reasons.

Do not strike and deny the authority of government and conflict with public welfare.


If teachers have the freedom to be part of a union they will feel protected and comfortable with their job. The union is going to be filled with a lot of different people, contracts, and cases etc.


Technology allows for communication and lays out the guidelines for specific unions. If technology is used improperly or controversially , your union might have to step in to adhere to your case.

Students Benefits

Students teachers will be taken care of and not wrongfully terminated. They will have teachers who are protected and will feel more comfortable to go out of the box or out of the way for the best interest for them, even if it means going against the grain because they have people to back them up. Under the union teachers are still held under high standards, under public eye and expected to meet expectations.

Teacher Personal Life

Morrison v. State Board of Education
  • Teacher fired for certain relations with another teacher that others thought was immoral.
  • the court ruled that the board should not be able to dismiss educators merely because it disapproved of their personal, private conduct unless the conduct is clearly related to their professional work. According to the court, when a teacher’s job is not affected, private behavior is his or her own business and should not be a basis for discipline.
  • “An individual can be removed from the teaching profession only upon a showing that his retention in the profession poses a significant danger of harm to students, school employees, or others who might be affected by his actions as a teacher.”
  • This case is significant because it ended the notion that teachers could be dismissed automatically for what their community considers “immoral behavior.”
  • State laws now define and limit the term and concept of “immorality,” and whether or not it grants dismissal.

Teacher Action

  • The fact that a teacher has done something that some people regard as immoral (ex: smoking marijuana, committing adultery, engaging in homosexual activity, or using vulgar language) is not enough for dismissal in most states.
  • Don't let your personal business affect your teaching, let private behavior be your own business.
  • Gives teachers much more freedom in their personal lives.
  • Dont break the law. Anything that a teacher has to question is appropriate, don't do.
  • Be positive role models for students.


Due to this case teachers can take into account their own personal lives and make sure it only has a positive impact on students. Teachers should act as role models while being in the public eye. Also, while pertaining to personal lives, teachers can realize how their students lives can be so different. Teachers should be accepting of those differences. They should want to know about their lives so they can apply their interests into lessons making it more interesting and motivating. Learn about them so they know you care, and be able to help or find help if they have any issues.


Teachers need to be careful when using technology and use it appropriately. Whether its using it for only educational purposes while at school and posting appropriate things to the web or social media in the public eye.

Student Benefits

Students get teachers who they can look up to. Who will have positive impacts in their lives and who will not let their personal lives effect their teaching in any negative way.

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