Chapter 3: School District Issues
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School District Issues
In the United States, curriculum is almost always a discretionary matter for educators to decide within usually broad parameters set by state education departments under legislative direction. The courts give wide latitude to curricular decisions, seeking to distance themselves from micromanaging what is or is not taught. See, for example, Hazelwood School Dist. v. Kuhlmeier, 484 U.S. 260 (1988) (contents of student newspaper subject to legitimate curricular and pedagogical judgment of principal); Board of Education, Island Trees Union Free School District No. 26 v. Pico, 457 U.S. 853 (1982), infra (content of classroom libraries subject to broad discretion as curricular in nature); Virgil v. School Board of Columbia County, 862 F.2d 1917 (11th Cir. 1989) (refusing to overturn board decision to remove “inappropriate” material from the curriculum); Mozert v. Hawkins County Public Schools, 827 F.2d 1058 (6th Cir. 1987), cert. denied, 484 U.S. 1066 (1988) (refusing to allow child to “opt out” of core-curriculum reading course); Smith v. Board of School Comm. of Mobile, 827 F.2d 684 (11th Cir. 1987) (refusing to require school board to remove books from curriculum that are offensive to parents’ religious beliefs). According to the National School Boards Association (www.nsba.org), “Courts are traditionally reluctant to wade into educational decisions, especially on issues such as curriculum. Judges prefer to leave these matters to the experts: school boards and administrators. But they will intervene to protect the legal rights of...
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