Educational Administration 5093

Public School Law

Spring 2004

Mark Littleton, Ed. D.                                                                                                                                                                                            404 Education Building

Tarleton State University                                                                                                                                                                                           Office: 254/968-9804

Dept. of Ed. Admin. Coun., & Psychology                                                                                                                                                          Email:


Course Description:  Constitutional provisions, statutory laws, court decisions, and regulations governing public schools with special reference to Texas and federal relationships. 




Kemerer, F., and J. W. (2000). The educator’s guide to Texas school law, Fifth Edition.  Austin: University of Texas Press.


Alexander, K., and Alexander, M. D. (2001). American public school law, Fifth Edition. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning.


Texas Education Agency. (2002). 2002 Texas school law bulletin.  Charlottesville, VA: Matthew Bender & Company, Inc.


Other Useful Texts:


Frels, K., Horner, J., Camp, B. and Robinson, V.L. (1996). Texas school law: A practical guide. Topeka, KS: National Organization on Legal Problems of Education.


Gomez, F.C. and Craycraft, K.R. (1998). The legal handbook for Texas teachers. Bulverde, TX: OMNI Publishers.


Littleton, M. (2001). Legal issues for Texas teachers. Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt.


Redfield, S. (2002). Thinking like a lawyer: An educator’s guide to legal analysis and research. Durham, N.C.: Carolina Academic Press.


Course Objectives


Major objectives of the course:



Students with Disabilities

It is the policy of Tarleton State University to comply with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other federal, state, and local laws relative to the provision of disability services. Students with disabilities attending classes at Tarleton State University may contact the TSU Disability Services Office at (254) 968-9480 to request appropriate accommodations. Furthermore, formal accommodation requests cannot be made until the student has been officially admitted to Tarleton State University.


Assessment of Student Knowledge


Examinations of student progress will come in three forms--written examinations, case studies, and class participation.  All work will be must be typewritten and double-spaced.  Please refer to the APA manual for the appropriate style and format.




Two comprehensive examinations will be administered.  The examinations will cover all content covered during the seminar days, and will include information located in the Kemerer & Walsh and Alexander & Alexander books.  The exam will include the following types of questions: multiple choice, matching, short answer, and essay.


In addition, on the final exam the student will be expected to know the significance of the following cases:


Brown v. Board of Education                   San Antonio ISD v. Rodriguez

Wisconsin v. Yoder                               Goss v. Lopez

Ingraham v. Wright                               Baker v. Owen

Pierce v. Society of Sisters                      West Virginia v. Barnette

Bd. of Educ. of Island Trees v. Pico           Tinker v. Des Moines

Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier                        Irving ISD v. Tatro

New Jersey v. TLO                              Doe v. Taylor

Gebser v. Lago Vista ISD                        Abington School District v. Schempp

Honig v. Doe                                      Keyes v. School District No. 1

Lemon v. Kurtzman                              Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg BOE

Lau v. Nichols                                     Santa Fe ISD v. Doe


Legal Case Study:


The student will respond the legal case study provided by the instructor. The response will be typed, and double-spaced. Students are awarded the grade based upon the final product of the group.


Class Participation:


Class participation and interaction is essential to the success of any graduate course. Class participation is based upon student attendance, student participation in class discussions, and student readiness for class discussions. Student readiness will be determined by the student’s a) ability to provide input related to previous class discussions, b) ability to answer questions and participate in discussions on assigned readings, and c) willingness and ability to include current issues related to school law into class discussions.


Extra Credit: Extra credit options are not available.




Grades for the course will be distributed according to the following charts:


Exam 1                            200 points              A = 900 – 1,000 points

Final Exam                       400 points              B = 800 – 899 points

Legal Case Study               200 points              C = 700 – 799 points

Class Participation             200 points              D = 600 – 699 points

                                                               F = Below 600 points


Total Points Available         1,000 points


Academic Honesty

Students are expected to maintain academic integrity at all times. Cheating, plagiarism, or doing work for another person who will receive academic credit are impermissible. This includes the presentation of unacknowledged material as if it were the student’s own work. Academic dishonesty will be handled as outlined in the Student Handbook, and may result in a severe academic penalty administered by the instructor.


Tentative Agenda


Date                     Topic                           Alexander                       Kemerer


1/13                      Legal Research                    Ch. 1                       Appendix A

                           Sources of Law                                                     Ch. 1

1/20                      Library-Legal Research

1/27                      Governance                      Ch. 2-4                      pp. 292-308

2/3                       Church & State                   Ch. 5                           Ch. 7

2/10                      Finance                           Ch. 19                             

2/17                      Attendance                     Ch. 6, 10                           

2/24                      School Activities                 Ch. 7                           Ch. 2

3/2                       Exam 1

3/9                       Special Programs                 Ch. 9                           Ch. 3

3/16                      Spring Break

3/23                      Special Programs

3/30                      Students’ Rights               Ch. 8, 12                     pp. 315-330

4/6                       Student Discipline                                                 Ch. 8

4/13                      Employment                   Ch. 14, 17                        Ch. 4

                           Legal Case Study Due

4/20                      Teachers’ Rights              Ch. 15, 16                       Ch. 5, 6

                                                                                              pp. 308-315

4/27                      Liability & Sex. Har.          Ch. 11, 13                        Ch. 10

                           Case Exam

5/4                       Final Exam