Education Law

Education news, analysis, and opinion about important court cases dealing with education
Law & Courts Video The Supreme Court's Vulgar Snapchat Ruling and What It Means for Students' Free Speech
The Supreme Court ruled in favor of a former high school cheerleader after she was suspended from the team over a vulgar Snapchat post. Here's what the high court said.
Eric Harkleroad, July 1, 2021
4:00
Members of the Supreme Court pose for a group photo at the Supreme Court in Washington on April 23, 2021.
Members of the Supreme Court pose for a group photo in Washington in April.
Erin Schaff/The New York Times via AP
Law & Courts Educators Look for Guideposts in Supreme Court Ruling on Student Free Speech
Measured responses greet a ruling that a district violated a student’s rights when it disciplined her for a vulgar Snapchat video.
Denisa R. Superville, June 23, 2021
6 min read
Image shows a picture of Brandi Levy in her cheerleading uniform in front of Mahanoy Area High School.
Brandi Levy, now an 18-year-old college freshman, was a cheerleader at Mahanoy Area High School in Pennsylvania when she made profane comments on Snapchat that were at the center of a U.S. Supreme Court case on student speech rights.
Danna Singer/Provided by the American Civil Liberties Union
Law & Courts U.S. Supreme Court Rules for Cheerleader Who Posted Vulgar Snapchat Message
The decision was 8-1 for a student who'd been disciplined by her school, but the court suggests some off-campus speech may be regulated.
Mark Walsh, June 23, 2021
12 min read
Image shows a teacher in a classroom.
skynesher/E+
Law & Courts If Critical Race Theory Is Banned, Are Teachers Protected by the First Amendment?
Bills to rein in how race and other controversial topics are taught have thrust K-12 teachers into a thicket of free speech issues.
Mark Walsh, June 10, 2021
10 min read
In this photo taken Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013, Mary Beth Tinker, 61, shows an old photograph of her with her brother John Tinker to the Associated Press during an interview in Washington. Tinker was just 13 when she spoke out against the Vietnam War by wearing a black armband to her Iowa school in 1965. When the school suspended her, she took her free speech case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and won. Her message: Students should take action on issues important to them. "It's better for our whole society when kids have a voice," she says.
In this 2013 photo, Mary Beth Tinker shows a 1968 Associated Press photograph of her with her brother John Tinker displaying the armbands they had worn in school to protest the Vietnam War. (The peace symbols were added after the school protest). The Tinkers have filed a brief in the U.S. Supreme Court supporting a Pennsylvania student who was disciplined for an offensive message on Snapchat.
Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP
Law & Courts Diverse Array of Groups Back Student in Supreme Court Case on Off-Campus Speech
John and Mary Beth Tinker, central to the landmark speech case that bears their name, argue that even offensive speech merits protection.
Mark Walsh, April 1, 2021
5 min read
A supporter for the transgender community holds a trans flag in front of counter-protesters to protect attendees from their insults and obscenities at the city's Gay Pride Festival in Atlanta on Oct. 12, 2019.
A transgender rights supporter holds a flag at Atlanta's Gay Pride Festival in October 2019.
Robin Rayne/AP
Law & Courts School Sports a Fresh Front in State Battles Over Transgender Students' Rights
Lawmakers in at least 10 states are pushing legislation that would prohibit transgender students from playing on single-sex sports teams.
Evie Blad, January 28, 2021
9 min read
Law & Courts U.S. Supreme Court to Weigh Whether Schools May Discipline Students for Internet Speech
The justices will hear the appeal of a school district whose discipline of a student for her vulgar message on Snapchat was overturned.
Mark Walsh, January 8, 2021
5 min read
Image shows a courtroom and gavel.
imaginima/E+
Law & Courts A Full U.S. Appeals Court Lets Federal Right-to-Education Case Go Forward
The suit says Mississippi’s lack of a “uniform” education system violates a post-Civil War era law readmitting the state to the union.
Mark Walsh, December 11, 2020
3 min read
In this Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020, file photo, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear addresses the media in Frankfort, Ky. Kentucky's governor said Sunday, Oct. 11, that he will quarantine after a member of his security detail who drove with his family the day before later tested positive for COVID-19. Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear said he and his family feel fine, show no coronavirus symptoms and have tested negative for the virus.
Kentucky Gov. Andrew G. Beshear is battling the state's attorney general over his order to stop all in-person school instruction to battle a surge in COVID-19 cases.
Timothy D. Easley/AP
Law & Courts Federal Appeals Court Lifts Block on Kentucky School Closure Order
The injunction would have let private religious schools reopen despite the governor's order barring in-person instruction.
Mark Walsh, November 29, 2020
3 min read
Protesters gather on the sidewalk outside the the offices of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in New York. Three  Jewish congregations  sued New York state and Cuomo, saying he engaged in a “streak of anti-Semitic discrimination” with a recent crackdown on religious gatherings to reduce the state’s coronavirus infection rate.
Protesters gather outside the the offices of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in New York. Three Jewish congregations sued New York state and Cuomo, saying he engaged in a “streak of anti-Semitic discrimination” with a recent crackdown on religious gatherings to reduce the state’s coronavirus infection rate.
Kathy Willens/AP
Law & Courts U.S. Supreme Court Blocks New York State COVID-19 Limits on Religious Services
The 5-4 decision reveals a fault line that may prevail when the high court confronts pandemic restrictions on religious education.
Mark Walsh, November 26, 2020
6 min read
Law & Courts Supreme Court Rules Job Discrimination Law Shields LGBTQ Workers
The sweeping 6-3 civil rights ruling has implications for school districts as employers as well as for continuing legal battles over the rights of transgender students.
Mark Walsh, June 15, 2020
8 min read
Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell Jr., shown in Washington in February 1976.
Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell Jr., shown in Washington in February 1976.
Associated Press
Law & Courts Right-to-Education Ruling Jolts Education-Advocacy World
The decision by a federal appeals court recognizing the right to a basic minimum education may be felt far beyond the substandard Detroit schools underlying it, but hurdles could remain.
Mark Walsh, April 29, 2020
10 min read
BRIC ARCHIVE
Peter Hoey for Education Week
Privacy & Security Opinion How the Ed. Department Threw a Wrench in Student-Privacy Laws
An incoherent FERPA rule change is facing legal challenges. As it should, writes Frank D. LoMonte.
Frank D. Lomonte, October 1, 2019
5 min read
Law & Courts The U.S. Supreme Court and Schools in 2018-19
A look at both the policy takeaways from the Supreme Court's 2018-19 session and a look ahead to a couple of major cases on the docket for the coming year, including Montana school choice/religious rights case and DACA.
Mark Walsh, July 16, 2019
2 min read