Chapter 1




Kenneth E. Lane and Kathleen C. Cohn


The first schools in this nation were primarily private schools which limited access to formal education to the children of wealthy parents. Compulsory education laws were passed within the various states of the nation opening the schoolhouse doors to an ever-increasing number of children, regardless of socio-economic background. As education in this nation became more accessible to all children, the disputes and controversies over education evolved into litigation in the courts which has become known as educational case law.


A knowledge of the legal system provides the foundation from which one can begin to understand and apply the principles of constitutional, administrative, and judicial law to school settings. The courts have played an important role in the development of the educational system at both the federal and state levels. An understanding of the functions and powers of the courts is necessary for applying school law.


It is important to note that the organization and governance of education in the United States is unique in that it is a responsibility of the state, not the federal government, to provide an education for its citizens. The states primarily delegate the responsibility for education to local decision-making bodies called school boards which remain state agencies. No other nation places the responsibility for the education of its citizens at this level.


As a function of state government, education receives many state resources. Each year the California Assembly considers the issue of funding for the schools including the construction of facilities to house the various educational programs within the state.


The Governor of the State of California must present a budget to the Assembly and oversee the educational system within the state at both the public school and higher education levels. The courts have consistently had to address educational issues within the state such as equitable allocation of resources, prayer at public school-sponsored activities, and quota systems for admission to institutions of higher education. Additionally, state government in California has been impacted by the passage of Proposition 98 which guarantees a minimum level of budget support for the schools in the state. Thus, it becomes apparent that education is a major aspect of the operation of the state government.


Historical Perspective


The U.S. Constitution, adopted in 1787, makes no provision for education as a function of the federal government. In fact, education is not even mentioned in the Constitution. Because the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution states that "all powers not delegated to the federal government, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States or to the people, respectively," education became a function of the individual states. The result is that all of the states, through their constitutions, have provided for education as a function of the state.


The development of public school systems in the various states was  accompanied by debate over who should have access to an education. Early thought was that education was still class-oriented and  therefore, children of poor and lower-class families were not given access to education. As a result, some of these excluded children were apprenticed to learn manual skills and

trades. Washington (1991) adds that:


The development of the public school systems was promoted and supported primarily by middle-class liberals, social and religious reformers, organized labor groups, and the working classes of northern cities. Opposition to public free schools came primarily from conservatives, southern aristocrats, and certain religious and non-English-speaking groups who saw the public education movement as a threat by government to grab control over their schools and over the education of their children in their religion and/or language. (pp. 1-2)


Those in favor of public schools argued that a democratic society and ideals depend upon an educated citizenry. Those opposed to free public schools argued that private interests and initiative would be undermined by such schools and that the wealth of the privileged should not be taxed to provide an education for the lower classes of the society. In an argument still being heard today, religious groups argued that secular schools would destroy the religious and moral foundations of the society.


Despite opposition, the benefits of education for all of society began to be recognized by state governments. In 1642, Massachusetts enacted a statute which charged parents with the responsibility of educating their children. This was followed in 1647 by the Old Deluder Satan law which required towns of 100 families to appoint a teacher and permitted the levy and collection of taxes for public education. However, schools still tended to be private or church-related, selective, and few in number.


The eighteenth century ushered in a new philosophy regarding free public education. The idea that an educated citizenry would help ensure freedom and provide a more peaceable government began to gain a foothold. Thomas Jefferson stated in a letter (Mayo, 1942):


I think by far the most important bill in our whole code is that for the diffusion of knowledge among the people.  No other sure foundation can be devised for the preservation of freedom and happiness . . . . Preach, my dear sir, crusade against ignorance; establish and improve the law for educating the common people. Let our countrymen know . . . that the tax which will be paid for this purpose is not more than the thousandth part of what will be paid to kings, priests, and nobles who will rise up among us if we leave the people in ignorance. (p. 89)


The conflict between free, state-provided education and sectarian education continued to increase in intensity. Horace Mann, an advocate for state-supported education, became involved. He espoused a philosophy of education in which free secular public schools were supported by both state and local community taxes.


The states began to address the need for providing free public education. Boston established the first high school in 1821. In 1852, Massachusetts enacted the first compulsory attendance law. In 1858, the local school superintendent in  Kalamazoo, Michigan, created a union high school. The decision of the Michigan Supreme Court in 1874 which upheld the superintendent's actions, opened the doors to the free public high school in the states.


Thus, education in the United States became a function of the individual states. Additionally, the involvement of the courts in deciding the legality of free public schooling was to become a continuing aspect of the educational delivery systems in the states.


Legal Aspects of Education


The fundamental principles of legal control of education are prescribed by the U.S. Constitution and state constitutions. The state constitutions address education by delegating to the legislature the responsibility for providing a system of education within the state. The legislature enacts the laws for public schools and the courts interpret the laws. This combination of a federal system of government and fifty state systems of government results in four basic types of law that form the legal foundation for public schools: (a) constitutional law, (b) statutory law, (c) administrative law, and (d) case law.


Constitutional Law


A constitution is a body of precepts that provides a framework of law within which orderly governmental processes may operate (Alexander & Alexander, 1985). Each constitution, whether federal or state, contains provisions that define the structure and specifies the powers and duties of government. Each constitution  either directly or indirectly provides for a separation of powers between the branches of government.


Article I of the U.S. Constitution creates the legislative branch of government and gives it the power to make written law.  Article II creates the executive (administrative) branch of government and gives it the power and duty to administer the law and to run the government. Article III creates the judicial branch of government which is given the power and responsibility of settling controversies arising under the Constitution and laws of the United States. The Constitution also defines the rights, privileges, immunities, restrictions, and/or guarantees granted to the people and the states. Some of the important U.S. Constitutional provisions relevant to education are listed in Table 1.1.




While each state constitution is similar in content and purpose to the U.S. Constitution, each is subordinate to the U.S. Constitution in that it cannot contradict or contain provisions contrary to the U.S. Constitution. The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the land. Each state constitution specifies the structure and functions of the state government and defines the rights, privileges, and immunities of individuals within the state.


Article XIV, Section 8 of the California State Constitution requires the legislature to provide for a system of common schools under which a free school must be established and supported in each district a minimum of six months in every year after the schools become operational. Additionally, it provides that the public school system includes all kindergarten, elementary, secondary, technical schools, and state colleges established in accordance with legal provisions. Constitutional provisions stipulating the legislature make it mandatory that the lawmaking body encourage the promotion of intellectual, moral, scientific, and agricultural improvement by establishing a uniform system of common schools. Some of the important California Constitutional and Educational Code provisions relevant to education are listed in Table 1.2 and Table 1.3.



Statutory or Legislative Law


Statutory or legislative law is an act of the legislative branch of government expressing its will and constituting a law of the state (Alexander & Alexander, 1985). At the federal level of government, statutory law is made by the U.S. Congress which receives its authority to make statutory laws from Article I of the U.S. Constitution. At the state level of government, statutory law is made by the state legislature which receives its authority to make statutory laws from  provisions in their state constitutions. Some important statutes affecting education enacted by the Congress of the United States are listed in Table 1.4.


Administrative Law


Administrative law consists of the rules, regulations, procedures, and guidelines that are developed by agencies of government and their appointed officials to implement federal and state statutory laws. Administrative laws are binding and enforceable upon people and institutions in the administrative hierarchy of government under their jurisdiction (Washington, 1991).


At the federal level of government, the Executive Branch and its agencies constitute the administrative wing of government. The President of the United States can issue proclamations and executive orders deemed necessary to maintain civil order and to gain compliance with the Constitution and laws of the nation. These proclamations and executive orders are found in the Federal Register. The rules and regulations that have been developed by federal  government agencies are found in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) or in the Federal Register. The Attorney General will represent the United States in court cases involving questions of national interest. Likewise, the Secretary of Education has responsibility for directing the federal government's role in education throughout the fifty states.


Each state constitution has an executive branch of government to enforce the law and operate the government. The governor of the state can issue proclamations and executive orders. The attorney general of the state can issue opinions concerning interpretations and issues of law. The state education agency, including local school districts, has the responsibility of enforcing state laws, establishing rules, regulations, procedures and guidelines for implementing the educational function of the state (Washington, 1991). In California, those regulations relevant to education are primarily embodied in two codes: The Education Code and Title V of the Administrative Code.


There is one additional role of the attorney general that is important. The attorney general may issue opinions requested by state agencies or their officials whenever they are confronted with difficult legal questions. These opinions are not legally binding, but as a practical matter they carry a great deal of influence in those situations in which there is no authoritative interpretation or decision by the courts.


Case Law


Case law is comprised of the decisions made by the courts. Case law is sometimes called common law. It is composed of traditions, folkways, and mores which have been handed down primarily from the English legal system. To some law scholars, a differentiation is made between case and common law in that common law is based on all the statutory and case law of England and the American Revolution. Case law is the accumulation of law from previous issues or disputes that have been resolved by the contemporary court systems of the United States.


The federal courts operate as the judicial arm of the federal government. They derive their existence and power from the U.S. Constitution and subsequent legislation passed by the U.S. Congress. Article III, Section 1, states that: "The judicial power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may, from time to time, ordain and establish."


The U.S. Supreme Court operates by a writ of certiorari: removing a case from a lower court to a higher court, to be heard.  Cases may be taken to the U.S. Supreme Court from a state court by a writ of certiorari when the validity of a state statute or federal statute is questioned under the U.S. Constitution or where any title, right, privilege, or immunity is claimed under the Constitution (Alexander & Alexander, 1985). A person involved in a dispute or controversy involving a constitutional issue or a federal law (statutory or administrative) may seek a resolution through the federal courts rather than beginning in the state courts.


Role of the Courts


The role of the courts is not to question the judgment of either the executive or legislative branches of government. It is to perform judicial functions in three areas. First, the courts will settle controversies by applying principles of law to a specific set of facts. Secondly, they will construe or interpret enactments of the legislature. Thirdly, they will determine the constitutionality of legislative or administrative actions.


In reaching decisions on the cases brought before the courts, a basic principle of case law is the rule of stare decisis, or precedent, which states that past decisions are generally considered to be binding on subsequent cases that have the same or substantially the same factual situations. A rule of law that is established in a case for the first time; thereafter, is considered to be the creation of a precedent. The courts are not bound by precedent unless the decision is made by a higher court in the same jurisdiction. The courts can also reverse their own previous decisions or change a rule they made if they are the court of last resort. An example which changed the course of education in the nation was the U.S. Supreme Court's reversal of one of its own doctrines established in Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896. In this decision, the Court had upheld as constitutional the doctrine of separate, but equal. At issue was separate transportation accommodations based on race. In 1954, in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka the Court denounced the separate but equal doctrine declaring it clearly violated the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution, and had no place in education. This decision changed the course of history, not only for education but for the nation as a whole.


Structure of the Court System


Figure 1.1 depicts the hierarchical structure of the federal court system. The appeals procedure is from the Federal District Courts through the District Courts of Appeals and finally to the Supreme Court of the United States. Four U.S. District Courts reside in California. Figure 1.2 shows the jurisdictions of the thirteen federal circuit districts. Note that San Francisco is the seat of the Ninth Federal Circuit Court of Appeals. It has jurisdiction over federal issues involving seven mainland states plus Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands.


The structure and functions of the judicial system in each of the fifty states are outlined by their respective state constitutions and state legislatures. The judicial systems of the states are not identical, but are similar and resemble the federal court structure.  Figure 1.3 depicts the hierarchical structure of the State of California.




Federal Role in Education


The authority to administer public education is not one of the powers of the federal government. Despite this lack of legal jurisdiction, the federal government exerts considerable influence over state educational systems through constitutional provisions, decisions of the United States Supreme Court, and federal laws related to civil rights and fiscal assistance to public schools. Federal constitutional provisions affecting the general welfare, equal protection, obligation of contracts, establishment of a religion, and the due process clause have been responsible for an abundance of litigation affecting education. The influence of the United States Supreme Court over educational issues is substantial since its decisions must be followed by federal and state courts despite opposition or disagreement with the verdicts (Benedetti, 1988).


Constitution of the United States


The U.S. Constitution contains sections which are commonly utilized to adjudicate cases related to education. The most frequently used sections are Article I, Article V, the First Amendment, Fourth Amendment, Fifth Amendment, Eighth Amendment, Tenth Amendment, and the Fourteenth Amendment (see Table 1). The interpretations of the courts in these areas have clarified the basis under which educational institutions may operate and the protection of guaranteed constitutional rights and freedoms for students and educators.


Judicial review is a means by which the courts have affirmed the right of the federal government to be involved in education. The right of judicial review is defined as the power of the courts to review and declare both federal and state laws unenforceable for being in violation of the U.S. Constitution. Additionally, those individuals who feel that their constitutionally protected rights and freedoms have been violated by a state agency or its officials can seek remedy in federal court in the form of damages under the Civil Rights Act of 1871. The nature of judicial review was explained by Professor Charles Black (1960) of the Yale Law School:


In the course of a judicial proceeding, it may happen that one of the litigants relies on a statute or other governmental pronouncement which the other litigant contends to be repugnant to some provision of the Constitution. It is the task of the court to determine what the law is. If the Constitution is a law of superior status, then the rule of the Constitution, and not the rule of the statute or other governmental pronouncement, is the correct rule of law for application to the case before the court. The court, under our system, therefore considers itself bound to follow the rule of the Constitution, and so to treat the other rule as a nullity. (p. 18)


In Marbury v. Madison (1803) a portion of Chief Justice Marshall's opinion that dealt with the issue concerning the power of the federal courts to invalidate acts of Congress stated:


It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is. Those who apply the rule to particular cases, must of necessity expound and interpret that rule. If two laws conflict with each other, the courts must decide on the operation of each.


So if a law be in opposition to the Constitution; if both the law and the Constitution apply to a particular case, so that the court must either decide that case conformably to the law, disregarding the Constitution, or conformably to the Constitution, disregarding the law, the court must determine which of these conflicting rules governs the case. This is the very essence of judicial duty. . . .


It is also not entirely unworthy of observation, that in declaring what shall be the supreme law of the land, the Constitution itself is first mentioned; and not the laws of the United States generally, but those only which shall be made in pursuance of the Constitution, have that rank.


Thus, the particular phraseology of the Constitution of the United States confirms and strengthens the principle, supposed to be essential to all written constitutions, that a law repugnant to the Constitution is void; and that courts, as well as other departments are bound by that instrument.


The rule must be discharged.


Finally, in exercising their judicial review, the courts follow certain criteria that were outlined by Justice Brandeis in Ashwander v. Tennessee Valley Authority (1936). Those criteria are:


1.      The Court will not pass upon the constitutionality of legislation in a friendly, nonadversary proceeding. . .

2.      The Court will not anticipate a question of constitutional law in advance of the necessity of deciding it.

3.      The Court will not formulate a rule of constitutional law broader than is required by the precise facts to which it is to be applied.

4.      The Court will not pass upon a constitutional question although properly presented by the record, if there is also present some other ground upon which the case may be disposed of.

5.      The Court will not pass upon the validity of a statute upon complaint of one who fails to show that he or she is injured by its operation.

6.      The Court will not pass upon the constitutionality of a statute at the insistence of one who has availed himself or herself of its benefits.

7.      When the validity of an act of Congress is drawn in question, and even if a serious doubt of constitutionality is raised, it is a cardinal principle that this Court will first ascertain whether the construction of the statute is fairly possible by which the question may be avoided.


Congressional Acts


Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution of the United States gives Congress the power to tax and spend to ". . . provide for thecommon Defence and General Welfare of the United States . . ." With this provision, Congress has involved itself indirectlythrough the appropriation of categorical aid funds (e.g., special education, Chapter I reading) to bring about change ineducation.


The effect of the passage of educational acts by the Congress of the United States has been to influence education in a positive and affirmative manner, yet never have direct control over education. Legislation passed by the Congress includes the following:



In discussing the legislation enacted by Congress, it is important to note that whenever a state and/or the local school district avail themselves of the federal funds associated with these acts, they agree to adhere to all of the provisions of the acts and cannot use the funds for services other than those for which they are intended. Furthermore, any agency in receipt of any federal funding is bound by the antidiscrimination provisions of these acts.


The Commerce Clause of the Constitution has been used by Congress to require affirmative action by the states. The areas of education most affected by the use of this clause include safety, transportation, and labor regulations. It is interesting to note that the Supreme Court, in Gibbons v. Ogden, defined intelligence as commerce. The result is that Congress may act to improve commerce in a positive manner rather than act to prevent state impediments (Alexander & Alexander, 1985). This is illustrated by the extension of wage and hour standards to almost all public employees, including school district employees.


State Role in Education


The various states derive their authority from the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Those powers not delegated to the Federal government by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states. States have used this authority to create systems of common schools, to levy and collect taxes to fund and maintain those schools, and to administer, supervise, regulate and evaluate them.


By state constitutional provisions, state legislatures are endowed with all-inclusive power to determine minimum educationalstandards and policies for  their respective school districts. Included in these powers are the right to determine the number and types of school districts, the method of financing the public schools, the length of the school day, the duration of the school year, the curricular offerings, and teacher credentialing.


While the public school system is a direct function of the state, part of the administration is left to the discretion of county, municipal, and school district authorities. In conferring power and authority to local agencies for the operation of school systems, the legislature does not divest itself of the ultimate control over school matters. The authority of the legislature over public schools is plenary, subject only to constitutional restrictions (Benedetti, 1988). Members of the local school board are officers of the state which has delegated to them the responsibility for governing the local school district. Employees of the board including teachers and administrators are state employees. As a public agency, the school board is subject to statutory rules and regulations, such as providing advance notice of meetings, maintaining a quorum when conducting business,

conducting all official action in open meetings, and acting through the minutes of its meetings. Only the school board has the authority to hire and fire personnel, to adopt a budget, to authorize payment of bills, and to expel students from  school.


The California State Constitution provides that since a general diffusion of knowledge and intelligence is essential to the promotion of the rights and liberties of the people, the legislature must encourage by all suitable means the promotion of intellectual, scientific, moral, and agricultural improvement. This constitutional mandate vests the legislature with discretion in exercising its power to accomplish that purpose.


The Governor of the State of California has powers which have significant import for education; the most important being budgetary. Each year the governor must present a proposed state budget to the California Legislature. Both the State  Senate and Assembly must weigh the needs of education against all other state functions and present a composite budget to the governor. The governor then has line item veto power with regard to his final approval of the state budget. This process has been made more complicated with the passage of Proposition 98 which mandates that 40 percent of the state budget be allocated for education.


In California in 1924, all laws related to education were organized into a separate code. In what is currently referred to as the Education Code, Division 2 contains provisions for the various agencies which oversee the education enterprise in the state. These agencies include the State Board of Education, the Department of Education, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, and the Commission on Teacher Credentialing.


The State Board of Education consists of ten members who are appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of two-thirds of the state senate. The Board determines questions of policy and adopts rules and regulations regarding the governance of employees and schools within the elementary, secondary, vocational, State University, and University of California systems. These rules and regulations appear in the California Administrative Code (Title V).


The State Superintendent of Public Instruction, elected by the people of California, is secretary and executive officer of the state board, and serves as the administrative officer of the Department of Education. Additionally, the  Commission on Teacher Credentialing was established by the legislature in 1970 to set standards for the education profession. This includes processing credentials, determining the status of educator preparation programs, and establishing assessment and professional conduct standards.


California also operates under the Public Employee Relations Act which provides for collective bargaining for all public school employees. Although the Education Code addresses some working condition issues, these are further regulated by individual school district collective bargaining agreements.


In establishing a state school system, it is mandatory that there be within the state some degree of uniformity and equality of educational opportunity for pupils attending the state-supported schools. Article I, Section 2, of the California State Constitution stipulates that "All laws of a general nature shall have a uniform operation," and Article IX, Section 5, provides that "The Legislature shall provide for a system of common schools. . . ." This provision goes on to state that the schools will be free to the students. The California Legislature is prohibited from enacting local or special legislation as affirmed in Article IV, Section 25, which states that "The Legislature shall not pass local or special laws. . .prescribing the powers and duties. . .of officers in school districts."


There is no constitutional provision requiring the legislature to provide identical educational opportunities. School laws are not rendered special, local, or otherwise unconstitutional, by the fact that under such enactments a higher grade of education may be afforded to the children in one district than that offered to those in another (Benedetti, 1988). Furthermore, school organization, supervision, administration, or finance need not be uniform. In Serrano v. Priest (1971) it was alleged that California's system of financing public schools resulted in disparities among the various districts in the amount of revenue available for education, thereby denying students equal protection of the laws under both the United States and California Constitutions. The court held that ". . .the Constitution does not require that the school system be uniform as to quality of education or money spent per pupil. Rather the system must be uniform in terms of courses of study offered and educational progression" (Serrano v. Priest, 1971). However, the court did establish a standard to determine if the fiscal policy was constitutional. Under this standard called fiscal neutrality, the quality of a child's education could not be based on the wealth of the local school district, but rather must be based on the wealth of the state as a whole (LaMorte, 1990).


Educational Case Law in California


Education in California has been affected by several landmark cases at both the state and federal levels. One of the more significant cases has already been discussed: Serrano v. Priest. This California Supreme Court decision that the method of funding public education through the property tax was basically unconstitutional lead to several attempts by the state legislature to redesign the financing of schools. The process was further complicated by the passage of Proposition 13 which limited property tax increases. The eventual outcome resulted in education being funded primarily by the state rather than the local district.


Another significant United States Supreme Court case was Lau v. Nichols (1974). Chinese students asserted that the San Francisco public school program failed to provide for the needs of non-English-speaking students. The Supreme Court agreed saying that equality of treatment was not realized by merely providing the same facilities, texts, and teachers. The lack of remedial English instruction violated Section 601 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Court concluded that students were foreclosed from any meaningful education when they lacked basic English skills. This ruling lead to the passage of the California Bilingual Education Act which served as a forerunner to the federal guidelines which were developed later to serve as Lau remedies.


In Honig v. Doe (1988) the United States Supreme Court strictly interpreted the stay put provision of the The Education forAll Handicapped Children Act of 1975. At issue were the indefinite suspensions, in accordance with California Education Code, of two students in a program for the emotionally disabled. The Court ruled that short-term suspensions are permissible, but that long-term suspensions are considered to be a change in placement which requires due process action by the Individual Education Planning Team.


Yet another significant California case challenged the exclusive use of intelligence tests, which had been standardized for white children, to determine placement in classes for the educable mentally retarded. The plaintiff alleged that the use of such culturally biased intelligence tests resulted in a disproportionate number of black students being placed in special education programs. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed and ordered school districts to stop the use of such tests (Larry P. v. Riles, 1979).


Role of School Administrator


The school administrator must by design be a schoolhouse lawyer. In the course of a normal school day, the school administrator will deal with questions concerning the appropriateness of the curriculum, the least restrictive environment for a special education student, collective bargaining rights, grievance procedures, due process for students facing disciplinary action, teacher evaluation, and confidentiality of professional issues. The ignorance of school law will not be a defense in the event of a lawsuit filed against the administrator and the school district. Tort law has clearly established that school leaders have a duty of care for their students and employees. If found negligent, they will be held liable for any harm coming to those for whom they have responsibility. In the state of California there is no immunity for public school officials in tort cases.


It is imperative that the school administrator stay informed of new developments on issues of school law. This can be done by membership in administrative professional organizations that provide journals with legal columns and legal updates as a part of the membership. Many organizations also provide liability insurance which could prove beneficial in the event of an actual lawsuit.




In our increasingly litigious society, the importance to school administrators of having a working knowledge of school law cannot be overstated. Schools are not immune from the process of using the legal system to resolve disputes and determine liability. School administrators need to carefully consider all aspects of their job performance with the potential for litigation in mind. However, a perspective that laws protect and enable rather than a view that laws intrude, will best serve the schools and the public they serve.


Discussion Questions


  1. Discuss the circumstances under which a case would go to federal court rather than state court.
  2. Discuss the impact that Marbury v. Madison had on the functions of courts in the United States.
  3. Discuss the means by which the federal government impacts education within the states.
  4. Discuss the manner in which each of the three branches of government in California impacts education within the state.
  5. Discuss the structure of the California state court system and the federal court system in terms of the appeals procedure.


Suggested Projects or Activities


  1. Interview the County Counsel as to the areas in which new principals need to be most aware.
  2. Develop a plan for restructuring the court system in California and/or the federal level.
  3. Develop a list of guidelines for school administrators to follow in dealing with legal issues.


Suggested Readings


Alexander, K., & Alexander, M. D. (1984). The law of schools, students, and teachers. St. Paul, MN: West.


Alexander, K., & Alexander, M. D. (1985). American public school law. St. Paul, MN: West.


Benedetti, E. (1988). California school law. Monterey Park, CA: Bonanza.


Ely, D., & Associates. (1988). California laws relating to minors. Gardena, CA: Law Distributors.


Fischer, T. (1987). Teachers and the law. New York: Longman.


Gaeti, L. (1983). Encyclopedia dictionary of school law. West Nyack, NY: Parker.


Morris, A. (1974). The constitution and American education. St. Paul, MN: West.


Valenti, W. (1980). Law in the schools. Columbus, OH: Merrill.




Alexander, K., & Alexander, M. D. (1985). American public school law. St. Paul, MN: West.


Ashwander v. Tennessee Valley Authority, 297 U.S. 288, 56 S.Ct. 466, (1936).


Benedetti, E. (1988). California school law. Monterey Park, CA: Bonanza Publishers.


Black, C. (1960). The people and the court (p 18). New York: Macmillan.


Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483, 74 S.Ct. 686 (1954).


Education Codes of California. (1991). West's Annotated Education Codes. St. Paul, MN: West.


Gibbons v. Ogden, 22 U.S. (9 Wheat) 1 (1924).


Honig v. Doe, 108 S.Ct. (1988).


LaMorte, M.W. (1990). School law: Cases and concepts (3rd ed.). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.


Larry P. v. Riles, 495 F. Supp. 926 (1979).


Lau v. Nichols, 414 U.S. 563, 94 S.Ct. 786 (1974).


Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. (1 Cranch) 137, (1803).


Mayo, B. (1942). Letter from Thomas Jefferson to George Wythe, Paris, August    14, 1786, Jefferson himself (p. 89). Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia.


Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537, 16 S.Ct. 1138 (1896).


Serrano v. Priest, 5 Cal. 3d584, 487 P2d 1241 (1971).


Washington, R. (1991). Texas public school organization and administration: 1991.  Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt.