Laws and court precedent on student classroom rights
Right to adherence to class syllabi Students are protected from deviation from information advertized in class syllabi. This may be a binding implied-n-fact contract. Goodman v. President and Trustees of Bowdoin College (2001) has ruled that institutional documents are still contractual regardless if they have a disclaimer. Right to the advertized course content Students are entitled to receive instruction on advertized course content. Institutions have the right to require coverage of designated course material by teachers and faculty and students are generally protected if they adhere to syllabus guidelines. Right to the advertized level of course instruction Students may expect teaching in conformity with the course level advertized. Andre v. Pace University (1994) awarded damages on the grounds of negligent misrepresentation and breach of contract. Right to attention to course objectives Teachers must give reasonable attention to all stated course subjects. Right to the advertized content covered in sufficient depth Students may have all advertised content covered in sufficient depth. Right to uniformity across class sections Scallet v. Rosenblum (1996) found that “tight control over the curriculum was necessary to ensure uniformity across class sections”. Right to fair grading in accordance with the course syllabus Students may be graded fairly and in accordance with criteria set forth by the course syllabuses and may be protected from the addition of new grading criteria. Institutions have the responsibility of preserving quality in grade representations and comparability between classes and prevent grade inflation. Teachers have the right, under the first amendment, to communicate their opinions regarding student grades, but institutions are required to meet students implied contract rights to fair grading practices. Departments may change grades issued by teachers which are not in line with grading policies or are unfair or unreasonable. Right to learn Students have the right to learn. Teachers do not have a free rein in the classroom. Actions must act within departmental requirements whichensure students right to learn and must be considered effective. Sweezy v. New Hampshi e (1957) found that teachers have the right to lecture. They do not have academic freedom under the law. Any academic freedom rules are put in place by the school. Right to protection form the misuse of time Students may expect protection from the misuse of time; teachers may not waste student’s time or use the class as a captive audience for views or lessons not related to the course. Riggin v. Bd. of Trustees of Ball St. Univ. found that instructors may not “wast[e] the time of the students who have come there and paid money for a different purpose.” Right to effective teaching Students can expect effective teaching even if it requires departmental involvement in teaching and curriculum development. Right to protection from written or verbal abuse Teachers have the right to regulated expression but may not use their first amendment privileges punitively or discriminatorily or in a way which prevents students from learning by ridiculing, proselytizing, harassment or use of unfair grading practices. Right to protection from ability discrimination in learning The 1990 Americans With Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act prohibit disability based discrimination in the classroom. Act This includes ability discrimination in learning and deemed otherwise qualified are entitled to equal treatment and reasonable accommodations in both educational and employment related activities. The Supreme Court defined 'Otherwise Qualified' as an individual who can perform the required tasks in spite of rather than except for their disability. Right to ability accommodation in classroom facilities Disabled students are entitled to equal access to classrooms facilities required to achieve a degree. Right to protection from testing policies which racially segregate Students Equality entails that individuals not be treated differently by individuals or systematically by an institution. Thus, testing policies which systematically discriminate, are unlawful according to the constitution. United States v. Fordice (1992), prohibited the use of ACT scores in Mississippi admissions, for instance, because the gap between ACT scores of white and black student was greater than the GPA gap which was not considered at all.