Eighth Amendment

The Eighth Amendment, enacted in 1791 as part of the Bill of Rights, provides that “excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted” (U.S. Const., Amend. VIII).

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Access to programs and facilities

When addressing the topic of access to educational programs and facilities, two concepts are extremely important: equal access and viewpoint neutrality.

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Affirmative action

Affirmative action began as a broad set of activities brought forth by the civil rights movement beginning in the 1930s.

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Age discrimination

American society is “graying” as health care improves and the baby boom generation approaches retirement age.

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Antiharassment Policies

Historically, many school administrators and teachers perceived peer harassment as normal adolescent behavior that did not pose any substantial threat to student safety.

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Bilingual Education

Several educational programs exist within public school systems to address the instructional needs of students who do not speak English.

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Bill of Rights

The Bill of Rights is generally recognized as a part of the U.S. Constitution that guarantees each person certain basic rights.

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Burger Court

The Burger Court is defined by the years that Warren Earl Burger presided as chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Catholic Schools

Long a major force in American education, new Roman Catholic elementary and secondary schools continue to open in such geographically diverse locations as Atlanta, Minneapolis, and Orlando.

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Civil Rights Act of 1871 (Section 1983)

The Civil Rights Act of 1871 (Section 1983) was intended to provide a remedy in federal courts for former slaves whose rights were violated by the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) or by state officials during the Reconstruction period in American history.

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Civil Rights Act of 1964

The Civil Rights Act of 1964, passed after decades of legal and grassroots advocacy, is viewed as a landmark in the struggle for civil rights in the United States. 

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Civil Rights Movement

The civil rights movement, a decades-long effort to win equitable treatment for African Americans and other groups underrepresented in American society, is described chronologically in this entry.

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Compulsory Attendance

Compulsory attendance laws refer to legislative mandates that school-aged children attend public, nonpublic, or homeschools until reaching specified ages.

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Corporal Punishment

In the mid-1970s, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the right of educators to use corporal punishment to foster discipline in the public schools.

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Teaching of Creationism Evolution and Intelligent Design

Four distinct movements in American educational history have approached the interpretation of what may be taught to children regarding the origins of life.

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Defamation

Defamation is an injurious statement about a person’s reputation; it usually involves a defamer, who imputes questionable character or inappropriate conduct about another, the defamed party. 

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Dress Codes

School dress codes have their origins in English private schools but only recently became common in American public schools.

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Dog Searches for Drugs

For decades, school systems engaged in efforts to stem drug use and violence in schools.

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Drug Testing of Students

Drug testing of students most often arises in two circumstances: tests conducted when a school official reasonably believes that a student is under the influence of a controlled substance not permitted by law or school policy, and tests conducted pursuant to a policy permitting random, suspicionless drug tests.

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Drug Testing of Teachers

Drug testing of teachers involves the law regarding search and seizure, and it must consider both the general nature of a workplace with the expectation that privacy exists there and the specific nature of a school setting with the special considerations necessary there.

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Dual and Unitary Systems

Based on precedent from the U.S. Supreme Court, dual systems of public education were those that operated separate and distinct schools for students who were White and children who were African American or other minorities such as Mexican American.

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Eleventh Amendment

According to the Eleventh Amendment, “The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State.”

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Equal Protection Analysis

The Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution declares that no state may “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” 

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Federalism and the Tenth Amendment

The term federalism refers to the division of power and responsibility between the states and the national government.

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First Amendment

The First Amendment was enacted in response to the experiences that the American colonists had with their British government as that government established religions in some colonies and limited freedom of the press generally.

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First Amendment: Speech in Schools

Free speech in the public schools is based on the First Amendment to the Constitution, according to which “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech or of the press.”

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Fourteenth Amendment

Ratified by the states in 1868 shortly after the end of the Civil War, the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was enacted with multiple purposes in mind. First, the Fourteenth Amendment granted citizenship and the promise of equality for Black Americans, many of whom were freed slaves.

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Free Speech and Expression Rights of Students

There has always been a fundamental tension between public school students and educational authorities in determining the parameters of acceptable student behavior.

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Locker Searches

Locker searches are common occurrences in American public schools. The use of locker searches has proliferated in recent years due to continuing threats of drugs and violence.

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