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Principals Avoiding Lawsuits

How Teachers Can Be Partners in Practicing Preventive Law

David Schimmel; Suzanne Eckes and Matthew Militello

This book gives principals the tools they need to avoid lawsuits by teaching their staff the information they need to practice preventive law.

Lawsuits often begin when teachers unintentionally violate students’ rights such as searching a student’s cell phone without reasonable suspicion or failing to follow a student’s Individualized Education Program. These violations do not occur because teachers intend to break the law. They occurred because the vast majority of teachers are not required to learn about the rights and responsibilities of students and teachers in their teacher preparation programs. As a result, most teachers get their legal information from the “law school” of the teachers’ lounge—that is, from colleagues who are similarly uninformed and misinformed. Instead, what teachers want and need is an in-service program that will provide them with a basic understanding of school law. But most busy principals don’t have the time, knowledge and resources to provide such a program for their staff.

This book will meet this critical, unmet need. It provides principals with the resources and lesson plans they need to incorporate school law into their professional development program. As a result, their teachers will get their information about school law from a reliable source – not from the rumors, fears and myths of the teachers’ lounge. By empowering their teachers with legal knowledge, principals and teachers will avoid lawsuits by becoming partners in the practice of preventive law.
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Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Pages: 148Size: 7 x 10
978-1-4758-3118-4 • Hardback • March 2017 • $60.00 • (£39.95)
978-1-4758-3119-1 • Paperback • March 2017 • $30.00 • (£19.95)
978-1-4758-3120-7 • eBook • March 2017 • $28.00 • (£18.95)
David Schimmel (J.D. Yale Law School) is Professor Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and co-author of 8 books about law and education including Teachers and the Law 9th Ed. (2015). He is recipient of the Education Press Association of America’s Distinguished Achievement Award for Excellence in Educational Journalism and the Education Law Association’s McGhehey (lifetime achievement) Award.

Suzanne Eckes, J.D., Ph.D. is a professor in the Educational Leadership and Policy Studies Department at Indiana University. Dr. Eckes has published over 100 school-law articles and book chapters, is a co-editor of the Principal’s Legal Handbook, Contemporary Legal Issues in Higher Education, and School Discipline and Safety, and is a co-author of the school law books Legal Rights of Teachers and Students and Public School Law.

Matthew Militello (Ph.D. Michigan State University) is the Wells Fargo Distinguished Professor in Educational Leadership at East Carolina University and co-author of five books and more then 60 articles. Prior to his academic career, Matt was a middle and high school teacher and principal in the state of Michigan.
Appendix A: Conducting Legal Research
Appendix C: The Court System
About the Authors
This is a must-have resource for school administrators! Every year, reviewing the school laws applicable to the classroom for teachers protects them from unnecessary interruptions and enables them to do what is best for students. This text makes it accessible and has great activities to generate professional conversations in any school
Elizabeth Walters, principal, Beech Grove High School

I have used the lesson plans in this book with my entire teaching staff, and they have been incredibly effective. It is amazing how confident, secure, and empowered teachers feel when they know they are on the right side of the law!
Matthew Kaiser, principal, Northview Middle School

Principals Avoiding Lawsuits offers educational administrators an eminently useable and practical handbook that should be in bookcases in every principal and superintendent's office in the United States.
Paul Swanson, Principal, Thomas Jefferson Elementary School (Falls Church, VA)

Teachers appreciate quality professional development on complex issues, and Principals Avoiding Lawsuits has been my go-to source for framing discussions on school law. Through the book's relevant cases and examples, my staff has been able to better understand how topics like student freedom of expression or religion and schools apply to their practice.
Cory Irwin, assistant principal, Central Middle School

Download a PDF of resources for Principals Avoiding Lawsuits here.