Where would our nation’s children and schools be without their teachers? Few careers are more important for encouraging a bright and better future than teaching, and yet few workers are taken for granted as much as our educators.
That’s part of the reason why teachers have so many legal rights to protect their jobs, ideas, and practices from undue interference. Here are some of the areas where having an education attorney might be useful when it comes to protecting and serving teachers’ rights.
Academic Freedom: In many ways, public school teachers often have to work with the material and curriculum they’re given. But within that, they also reserve the right to teach materials or promote discussions without any undue restrictions.
Freedom of Speech: Academic freedom also aligns closely with First Amendment rights to freedom of speech for all Americans. Though public school teachers are not supposed to promote any political, religious, or personal agenda in their lessons, they can freely speak up about important issues of the day — so long as it doesn’t interfere with curriculum or job duties. Generally, university professors have much more academic freedom — in theory.
Tenure and Dismissal: Unlike many jobs where employees can be fired at will, most states give tenure security to public school teachers. This means that the school must show just cause in the event of a termination or dismissal. If not, a teacher may file for a wrongful termination case on any of some 20-plus different legal bases. Between 50% to 70% of wrongful dismissal cases are won by the former employee.
Right to Organize: Teachers unions are some of the strongest and largest in the country, and with good reason. Teachers reserve the right to freely associate with labor unions and professional organizations in order to better negotiate with school boards and advocate for their terms of contract.
Unfortunately, teachers may routinely experience situations where their rights are being undermined, challenged, or outright violated. If you have a case of discrimination in the workplace, wrongful termination, union-breaking, or have had your freedoms of speech infringed upon, it may be time to talk with an education attorney about your legal rights and options.
Call our experienced team of Lexington attorneys at Golden Law Office to help you get started on the path to justice.