Legal and Ethical Implications for Classroom Management

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Legal and Ethical Implications for Classroom Management

July 07, 2010

Classroom Management

Classroom management is the key to a successful school year for both the teacher and the students. I have read about various methods, techniques, and disciplines useful in establishing a solid foundation for student cooperation and participation. I wholeheartedly understand that I cannot control another person’s thoughts, feelings, and/or actions. However, I do believe I am capable of establishing a healthy rapport with administration, co-workers, parents, and students that will allow me to obtain my desired goals for student achievement. I believe successful classroom management is developed based on the proper mixture of being prepared, respectful, hopeful, encouraging, structured and disciplined. These are a few of the characteristics of successful educators. My goal is to learn how to acquire, maintain and provide these elements consistently without bias. In order to do this I will need to understand and be able to utilize the legal and ethical rights of an educator. As well as understanding and coping with the legal and ethical rights of students and parents.

There have been many stories in the news regarding the violation of teachers, students or parents rights. I still hold onto the romantic notion that teachers genuinely care about students, students want to be involved in the learning process, and that parents want to do whatever is deemed necessary to help their student succeed. It is an unfortunate reality that not every teacher cares for their student’s success let alone well-being. It is an unfortunate reality that students go to school simply because they are made to or because they want to socialize. Even more -disturbing is the reality that some parents do not have the skills, tools, or desires to help their student achieve academic success or successful community independence and integration. As an educator I believe it will be my responsible to do all I can to help students and parents work together with the school to reach and maintain the common goal of student success. I must admit though that it is disheartening to read articles about the lack of respect, care, and/or concern for the basic human rights.


One of the rights a teacher has is that of academic freedom. Academic Freedom is based on the First Amendment freedom of expression. Even though the freedom is limited to content, teachers have the right to choose information that is relevant and consistent to their responsibilities. They also have the right to choose the method of presentation. It is well understood that a teacher cannot impose their own opinions or beliefs onto that of the students, but a teacher has the right to hold and promote their own beliefs. Information being taught in history and social studies can be delivered in a variety of formats. On May 02, 2007 New York Times Staff Writer reported of monumental case that enforces this right for teachers.

Bradley Johnson, a math teacher in a Michigan public school, displayed two banners at the school that refers to a Higher Power specifically God. The first banner read, “In God We Trust One Nation Under God”. The second banner read, “God Bless America God Shed His Grace On Thee”. Mr. Johnson was asked to remove the banners after displaying them in the hallways of the public school for more than 25 years. The administration claimed the nature of the banners might offend non Christian students.

The federal civil rights lawsuit filed claimed Mr. Johnson’s constitutional rights were violated when he was told to remove the banners. It also claimed these phrases are well known by students in all schools.The federal court ruled in Mr. Johnson’s favor stating school is a place where students should be learning social tolerance. He was able to re-hang the banners. This case was seen as a restriction of a teacher’s viewpoint and a direct violation of his state and...
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