Teachers' Rights and Responsibilities
Grand Canyon University
October 09, 2012
Teachers' Rights and Responsibilities
Deciding to be a school teacher does not mean one has to throw away their rights granted by the United States Constitution. Teachers are required to maintain moral and ethical behavior but their rights as citizens are not taken away. Teachers should understand that they are always teachers and role models whether they are in the classroom or not and should always maintain a professional demeanor when in the public eye. Teachers are held to a higher standard in their actions and behaviors because of their employment position. Teachers influence and mold the ideas and thought of young people. There is an inherent responsibility of being a role model whether the teacher is in the classroom or in the grocery store. Teachers are granted the same personal freedoms as private citizen, but need to make sure their personal choices do not affect their ability to perform in the classroom as a school board employee. The following is a teacher handbook outlining the rights and responsibilities of teachers including: academic freedoms, freedom of association, and freedom of expression, freedom of religion, employment rights and responsibilities, and code of ethics. Academic freedom
Teachers are afforded a limited amount of freedom with regards to instruction in the classroom. This comes from a teacher’s right to teach and student’s right to learn (Essex, 2012). The idea of academic freedom is a very limited concept in public schools. Academic freedom is the idea that teachers have the freedom to decide how they teach not what they teach. Curriculums are determined by the State, what teachers have is the opportunity to bring these concepts to life and inspire learning, discovery, research, and inquisition in students. Teachers must keep their instruction within the realm of their subject certification and age level and maturity of students (2012). In the case, Fowler v. Board of Education of Lincoln County, Kentucky, a tenured teacher was terminated because she showed an R rated movie to her student with inappropriate subject matter and nudity (Essex, 2012). The video was not part of the curriculum and it was found that the teacher did not have First Amendment rights in this circumstance (2012). Teachers may not offer students instruction on subject they are not certified in. Teachers will not use their classroom as a platform to promote or persuade their student’s beliefs to their own beliefs. The classroom is not a place for teachers to promote their personal agendas including religious or political beliefs or opinions. Teachers must keep their instruction focused on the curriculum determined by the State. What academic freedom teachers have is in the way they present and teach the provided curriculum. Freedom of association
Teachers have the same rights as other citizens when it comes to freedom of association as provided by the First Amendment. Teachers are free to associate with whatever groups they choose without fear of punishment. It is important for teachers to understand that although they are afforded the same rights as other individual, they do have an inherent responsibility to be cautious of their actions because of the position they hold. Teachers should avoid putting themself in a position where they have to explain their behavior or where it's their word against another person's word. Maintain a professional reputation in the community. It is advised that teachers are cautious of the impressions they make in public and how their actions may affect their ability to perform as a district employee. Teachers are role models, and students look to them with respect and for guidance. The Supreme Court stated, “A teacher serves as a role model for his students, exerting a subtle but important influence over their perceptions and values” (Essex,...
References: Essex, N.L. (2012). School law and the public school, a practical guide for educational
leaders. New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc.
Fowler v. Board of Education of Lincoln County,Kentucky, U.S. Court of Appeals, 6th Cir. 817
F. 2d 657 (1987).
The Code of Ethics and the Principles of Professional Conduct of the Education Profession in Florida. (2012). State Board of Education Rule 6B-1.001, FAC. www.fldoe.org
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