ALR Student’s Corner: Decoding the law behind a ubiquitous experience


Experience with K-12 education is nearly ubiquitous. Almost everyone remembers their own experiences, some more fondly than others, sitting in class, working on assignments, and going to football games or senior prom. Many of us will broaden these experiences by sending our children to schools, or making careers in the K-12 setting.  However, despite this shared experience, not many of us have taken the time to understand the legal considerations that shape schools; by dictating the length and content of the classes, the assignments required for completion, and the content allowed at school events, almost every occurrence within the school day is proscribed by law. To understand these issues and more, Education Law: an Essential Guide for Attorneys, Teachers, Administrators, Parents, and Students is a great place to start.


Education Law: an Essential Guide for Attorneys, Teachers, Administrators, Parents, and Students is located in the Treatise section of the Charlotte School of Law Library on the Environmental, Healthcare, Education, and Entertainment Law Shelf. Locating the call number, KF4119.G47, from the Library catalog, using the search terms “education law,” takes you right to the treatise.


Contained in a single volume, the second edition of Education Law was published in 2007. The resource contains a Table of Contents, References Page, Endnotes Page, and Index. The Table of Contents is divided into 20 broad areas of education law (i.e. Fourth Amendment—Search and Seizure) with more specific, related issues underneath (i.e. Drug-sniffing Dogs). Each chapter also begins with this delineation to allow for more targeted reading without returning to the Table of Contents. The Endnotes section provides the citation for many important cases related to education law and sentence summaries of many of the holdings. Summaries of each case, instead of only a few, would have been more helpful. Finally, there is a general index that provides an appropriate amount of terms and cases.


To illustrate how to search this treatise, suppose you learn that your child’s high school will institute random drug testing of all students next year. You see this as an invasion of your child’s privacy and want to challenge the policy.

Armed with Education Law, you begin by checking the Table of Contents. You immediately notice that “Chapter 10: Drugs, Weapons, and Zero Tolerance Policies.” Upon scanning the sub-topics, however, you realize that the chapter deals with the repercussions of drug use, not testing for drug use. You know that your child is perfect and would never actually use drugs, so you are not concerned with the punishment. Instead, you want to focus on the privacy concerns of allowing random testing.

You then turn to the Index and search for “drug testing.” Luckily, this term appears and provides for more specificity: 1) of student athletes and 2) of students engaged in non-sports extracurricular activities. Both of these are located in “Chapter 11: Search and Seizure.” The relevant pages in Chapter 11 provide an overview of recent cases that deal with schools’ drug testing of students, with and without reasonable suspicion. Therefore, it provides a metric by which to measure, and probably challenge, the school’s proposed policy.


Education Law provides an easy-to-follow introduction to areas of educational law with both analysis of case law and relevant statutes. To supplement this information, visit Education Law Center, ACLU’s Students! Know Your Rights, and Georgetown Law Library’s Education Law Research Guide.

CITATION: Gerstein, R. (2007). Education law: an essential guide for attorneys, teachers, administrators, parents, and students.  Lawyers and Judges Publishing Company: Tucson, Arizona.

~ C. Matthew Ferguson, Class of 2013 ~

Class Advisor – Cory M. Lenz, Esq.

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Filed under Advanced Legal Research, Books & Stuff, collection, Library, Of Interest to Law Students, Student Postings

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