Schools are often arenas where our most incendiary social and cultural conflicts emerge. The Supreme Court is where many of those conflicts get debated and resolved. In the last century, the Supreme Court has decided cases involving constitutional claims that touch many hot button educational issues – like student rights of expression, racial inequality, due process, censorship, student discipline, and corporal punishment.
In this four-session course, we will examine several specific decisions and their impact on the lives of children. We will also look at impacts on some of the people involved – plaintiffs, attorneys, and justices as well as some of the drama surrounding debates and decisions.
Throughout, we will take a broad perspective on these decisions and consider several key questions including:
• What constitutional rights do students have while in school?
• What authority should school personnel have to limit those rights?
• How expansive should judicial power be over public schools?
• To what extent should the Supreme Court defer to state and local government?