Commentary-PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION
Tara A. Waterlander, Canines in the Classroom: When Schools Must Allow a Service Dog to Accompany a Child With Autism into the Classroom Under Federal and State Laws, 22 Geo. Mason U. Civ. Rights L.J. 337 (2012). This article argues that civil rights laws require public schools permit access to autism service animals. All three federal statutes governing whether a public school must allow a child with a disability to be accompanied in the classroom by a service animal could be interpreted as allowing a service dog to accompany an autistic student. Despite favorable federal statutes, school districts across the nation are denying these requests by students, and the author concludes that schools should not put autistic students at a greater disadvantage in the classroom by failing to abide by these regulations.
Barry Malone, Morse v. Frederick: High Court Gets Reasonable after "Bong Hits," 13 Thomas M. Cooley J. Prac. & Clin. L. 43 (2010). The author argues that the Supreme Court created a far-reaching exception to the Tinker rule by allowing principals to suppress all student speech which could be reasonably interpreted as encouraging drug use. Tinker requires a "substantial disruption" caused by student speech prior to any disciplinary action taken by the school. The author takes issue with the Court's unreasonable interpretation in Morse of a "Bong Hits for Jesus" sign as encouraging illegal drug use. The author argues that the Court erroneously emphasized the first part of the students' message while completely ignoring the second portion. The author concludes that Tinker was the better standard to apply, and that principals should not have the power of interpretation.
Charlotte Garden, Teaching for America: Unions and Academic Freedom, 43 U. Toledo L. Rev. 563 (2012). This article explores the role of unions in protecting teachers' First Amendment rights. The author notes the increasing public scrutiny placed on public educators and the recent attempts by several states to reform tenure, reduce pay and benefits, increase work hours, and limit the abilities of teachers to bargain collectively. Though the Supreme Court has not yet ruled on the issues, lower court decisions illustrate that school districts may discipline or fire teachers for their curricular choices, even when those choices are pedagogically sound. The author advocates for collectively bargained provisions protecting teachers who make delegated curricular decisions without violating other school policies. This will promote predictability and reduce the risk that teachers will be dissuaded from presenting controversial material.
Nicole M. Oelrich, A New "IDEA": Ending Racial Disparity in the Identification of Students with Emotional Disturbance, 57 S.D. L. Rev. 9 (2012). In this article, the author posits that the definition of emotional disturbance adopted by the Department of Education has led to a disproportionate amount of African American male students being identified as having an emotional disturbance. It is suggested that the definition causes this diagnosis in a disproportionate amount due to the definition's vagueness and cultural biases as opposed to genuine emotional issues. The author concludes by suggesting a revision of the definition to more appropriately fulfill the policy concerns addressed by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
Louise Weinberg, The McReynolds Mystery Solved, 89 Denv. U. L. Rev. 133 (2011). This article focuses on the seeming inconsistency between the liberal holding of Meyer v. Nebraska, declaring a right to teach, and the conservative beliefs of the author of that opinion - Justice James Clark McReynolds. The author recounts the Meyer opinion as well as a number of subsequent cases related to the Meyer opinion. The author concludes by making the connection between Justice McReynolds's economic beliefs and the holding in Meyer.
Susan P. Stuart, A New Sheriff in Town: Armistice in the War on Drugs and Students' Civil Rights, 13 Fla. …