28 5.2 Integrity

“There is no higher value in our society than integrity.” Arlen Specter

Integrity refers to a person having strong moral values.  We associate people who have integrity with being honest and decent. To consistently do the “right” thing, even if nobody is watching. According to Seth Meyers, “The good news about integrity is that we’re not born with it—or without it—which means that it’s a behavior-based virtue we can cultivate over time.” (Psychology Today, 2015). Integrity is a fundamental trait to cultivate and highly valued in our society.  As future teachers, you are expected to possess this characteristic and be held to a higher standard than many other careers.

Teachers and Copyright Laws

Teachers are not exempt from copyright laws, and you must be careful about the materials you use in your classroom. In the Copyright Act of 1976, Congress established guidelines for the duplication of copyright works. According to the law, teachers may make a single copy of a chapter of a book, an article, a short story, short essay or poem, a diagram, chart, or picture. Educators may make multiple copies of copyrighted work for use in the classroom, provided they meet specific brevity guidelines, spontaneity, and cumulative effect. Please refer to the following website for detailed guidelines:


Teachers also need to be mindful of copyright laws involving electronic media. Pay attention to copyright laws for using videos, DVDs, and software programs.  Be aware that internet laws are still evolving, and it is best to check with their librarian or media specialist in your school building.

Teachers as Mandated Reporters

In 1974, Congress enacted the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, which defines child abuse and neglect as the physical or mental injury, sexual abuse, negligent treatment, or maltreatment of a child under the age of 18 by a person who is responsible for the child’s welfare under circumstances that indicate that the child’s welfare is harmed or threatened thereby. All states require teachers and school personnel to report suspected child abuse. Illinois uses free online training for mandated reporters. (https://mr.dcfstraining.org). Usually, reasonable suspicion or a reasonable cause to believe is enough to require a teacher to report according to the law.

Teachers and Academic Freedom

Teachers have always been allowed a fair amount of academic freedom in creating and teaching their coursework.  Academic freedom basically refers to the freedom of teachers to communicate information without legal interference. Even if a teacher makes an off-color comment about their principal, the school district cannot fire that teacher. However, as previously mentioned, teachers are held to a higher code of ethics and should be mindful of what they say, print, and post on social media.

Academic freedom can vary depending on what grades are being taught and where schools are located. Higher education tends to allow more academic freedom than secondary and elementary school teachers. There may be more public pressure about teachers’ academic freedom in smaller, more rural schools than larger city school districts. As future teachers, you need to be mindful of the school district you work in and pay careful attention to your students’ state facts versus opinions.

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA):

The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), also known as the Buckley Amendment, was passed by Congress in 1974. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under the U.S. Department of Education’s applicable program. This law was passed to clarify who had access to students’ school records. Included in school records are personal records, grades, test scores, and teachers’ reports. This law mandated that schools share all information about students with their parents and/or legal guardians. It further required schools to explain recorded observations to parents when requested.

FERPA gives parents certain rights to their children’s education records. These rights transfer to the student when he or she reaches 18 or attends a school beyond the high school level. Students to whom the rights have transferred are “eligible students.” (U.S. Department of Education, 2018).

If the student is not a dependent, the student must generally consent for the school to disclose the information to the parents.

 Legal Issues Involving and Court Cases Involving Students’ Rights

Brown v Board of Education:

Brown versus the Board of Education, the famous landmark case, involved a nine-year-old girl named Linda Brown when she was refused to attend an all-white elementary school in Topeka, Kansas. Oliver Brown, Linda’s father, was the prime plaintiff in this case. “In his lawsuit, Brown claimed that schools for black children were not equal to the white schools and that segregation violated the so-called “equal protection clause” of the 14th Amendment, which holds that no state can “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws” (History 2009).  The court case of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka lasted from 1952 to 1954 and went to the United States Supreme Court. The court declared state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students to be unconstitutional.  Schools were required to be desegregated as a result of this ruling.

In the Supreme Court decision, issued on May 17, 1954, Justice Earl Warren wrote that “in the field of public education the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place,” as segregated schools are “inherently unequal.” As a result, the Court ruled that the plaintiffs were being deprived of the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the 14th Amendment. (USA Today, 2019).

Group Assignment


  1. Each group will be assigned an educational landmark case.
  2. The task of each group is to teach the rest of the class about their assigned court case.
  3. A minimum of two (2) research sources must be included in APA format at the end of the presentation.
  4. The following questions (below) need to be fully answered and then presented using either PowerPoint, Prezi, or Sway.
  5. The presentation should be a maximum of 20 minutes, with all members presenting a part of the case.
  6. See evaluation for additional guidance.
  7. You will receive a group grade for the written portion of this assignment and an individual grade for your individual presentation portion.
  8. Please write each student’s name at the bottom of the slide(s) they created and presented.

One way of finding information will be from the College of DuPage Library.


Group 1:  Tinker v. Des Moines (1969) – Students Constitutional Rights and Freedom of Expression

Group 2: Goss v. Lopez (1975) – Suspension & Due Process

Group 3: Ingraham v. Wright (1977) – Corporal Punishment

Group 4:  Bethel v. Fraser (1986) – Vulgar Speech

Group 5:  Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier (1988) – Newspaper Censorship

Group 6: Veronia School District v. Acton (1995) – Drug Testing

Locker, Backpack, Jacket, Purse Search

Group 7:  Davis v. Monroe County Board of Education (1999) – Sexual Harassment

Group 8: Natalie Munroe v. Central Bucks School District (2015) – Private Blog


  • The situation that brought about the lawsuit. What? When? Where? Why?
  • What was the issue the court had to decide?
  • Who was the original plaintiff (person who sued)? What arguments were used to convince the courts?
  • Who was the original defendant? What arguments were used to convince the court?
  • What was the court ruling? What reasoning was used for the decision?
  • Was there dissent (opposition)? By whom/what reasons were used for disagreeing with the majority opinion?
  • What was the significance of the case at the time?
  • What is the significance of the case for today’s schools? To you as a future teacher?




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Introduction to Education by Shannon M. Delgado and Sarah Mark is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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