The transgender question: What are schools to do? 

col - Underwood, featureblog|

As the debate goes on, schools must protect students and comply with the law.  Over the past six months, considerable media and legal attention have been focused on the rights of transgender students in public schools. Last month, a Kappan article, “Seven reasons for accommodating transgender students at school,” tackled the arguments against providing transgender students access [...]

Student online speech rights on and off campus

col - Underwood, featureblog|

  If off-campus online speech presents the likelihood of a disruption on campus, administrators can respond by disciplining the responsible students. Students do not “shed their rights to freedom of speech and expression at the schoolhouse gate.” — Tinker v. Des Moines, 393 U.S. 503 (1969) Nearly 50 years ago, Justice Abe Fortas penned those [...]

You say ‘records,’ and I say ‘data’

col - Underwood|

FERPA, the most widely used federal education law, has not kept pace with changing times.  FERPA — the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act — is one of the most commonly encountered education laws in the U.S. Any educational institution that receives federal funds must follow FERPA mandates, so the law touches almost every institution [...]

The next Scalia?

col - Underwood|

Reading Neil Gorsuch’s opinions on education-related cases offers a few insights on how he might respond in future decisions.  President Trump’s nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia has sparked many questions about how he will affect the court’s ideological balance. Will he be less conservative than Scalia, more so, [...]

Mixing guns and schools

col - Underwood|

Schools are subject to an often-conflicting array of gun regulations from three levels of government. Educators and parents want schools to be safe places for children. And as the PDK national poll has shown, parents overwhelmingly believe that their children are safe at school. But tragedies do occur, such as the mass murders at Columbine [...]

The next Scalia?

col - Underwood|

Reading Neil Gorsuch’s opinions on education-related cases offers a few insights on how he might respond in future decisions. In this season of presidential appointments, we’ve all been watching as Congress and others have probed the backgrounds of candidates to get some idea about how these individuals will serve this country. Any presidential appointment is [...]

Speak freely to the school board

col - Underwood|

School boards can enact rules about public comments at their meetings, but they cannot impede someone’s right to speak, whether they are employees or the public. Access and input to decision making by public bodies, including school boards, is an important part of the American democratic system. How does the public, including school district employees, [...]

Expanded support for homeless students

col - Underwood|

Federal requirements for protecting educational access for homeless children expands even as their numbers also increase. What homeless children need most of all is a home. While they are experiencing homelessness, however, children desperately need to remain in school. School is one of the few stable, secure places in the lives of homeless children and [...]

The legacy of Justice Antonin Scalia

col - Underwood|

Justice Antonin Scalia had a profound effect on the U.S. Supreme Court, consistently adhering to and promoting, sometimes scornfully, a strict constructionist application of the U.S. Constitution. The U.S. Supreme Court has an incredible effect on American law and public policy and thus on our public schools. You cannot overstate its importance. The sudden death [...]

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