Title

Mississippi Superintendents' and Secondary Educators' Knowledge of School Law As It Relates to Student Rights In Selected Areas

Date of Award

1990

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Educational Studies and Research

First Advisor

Bobby D. Anderson

Advisor Department

Educational Studies and Research

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to survey superintendents, principals, and teachers that belonged to selected school districts in Mississippi to ascertain if there were significant differences in their knowledge of the components of school law. The study also investigated whether this knowledge of the components of school law differed according to law education and superintendent status (elected or appointed). In addition, relationships between educators' years of experience and knowledge of the components of school law were tested. The components tested in this study were freedom of expression (speech/press), search/seizure, religion, suspension/expulsion, school attendance, corporal punishment, child abuse, special education, school vandalism, and divorce/child custody. Although there was a significant difference in the knowledge of the components of school law among superintendents, principals, and teachers, the knowledge possessed by all these groups were only marginally correct. A significant difference was found between those educators who had a course in school law and those educators who had not taken a course in school law, thus supporting the idea that such education will enhance knowledge. Teachers' years of experience and their knowledge of the components of school law yielded a significant relationship only in the components of freedom of expression, religion, suspension/expulsion, attendance and search/seizure. Administrators' total years of experience did not produce a significant relationship in the knowledge of the components of school law except in the area of divorce/child custody. This study illustrates the need to develop a curriculum for staff development in the area of student rights and the law. The study also demonstrates the need for teacher education programs to develop courses that will help prepare teachers and administrators to cope with situations involving students' rights.