Education law is a rapidly emerging and evolving area of the law. This area touches on every aspect of education at every level—from primary and secondary education to specialty and higher education, as well as issues in vocational and continuing community education programs. It also touches and affects individual rights and remedies in situations involving claims of discrimination.
Student rights alone in areas such as general discipline, special education and participation issues, such as under Title IX (relating to gender and financial equality in higher education athletic programs), present major challenges and opportunities under the law. Student debt issues are another major legal concern and focus. Student disabilities also stand alone as a significant area of law practice. The recent scandals regarding school admission procedures underscore more complex additional areas of concern, for example, in higher education, that have both criminal and civil law implications. For teachers and administrators as well, an entire body of law and practice has emerged that governs the rights and responsibilities of these individuals.
Without question the law and practice in education is increasingly complicated and specialized, and often best served in consultation with an attorney. An experienced attorney will understand the special governing rules and procedures in the educational setting—which are themselves a unique, standalone system of government. A good local attorney will also understand many of the local legal and political dynamics that may be at work in any fact situation. Finally, if you or your child are facing any sort of serious disciplinary or enforcement proceeding in a school setting, it’s a good idea to consult with an attorney. The same recommendation applies to any teacher or administrator facing discipline or a potentially negative employment review, as well as any employment-related criminal charges.