Book Review

School Law for Public, Private and Parochial Educators

by Leo H. Bradley, Rowman & Littlefield Education, Lanham, Md., 2005, 295 pp, $49.95 softcover

Legal mistakes cost school districts money that may be used for other purposes. Each year when school districts report their audits, superintendents take note of their attorney costs, and the question always asked is “Could I have done things differently to avoid these legal expenses?

In School Law for Public, Private and Parochial Educators, Leo H. Bradley navigates the reader through the minefield of legal issues that confront administrators regularly — religious issues, student rights, teacher contracts, teacher negligence and students with disabilities.

Bradley, a professor of school law at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, looks at issues that arise at unexpected times, such as open-meetings requests. On this matter, he asks: To what entities does the sunshine law apply? Can a majority of the school board or a subcommittee get together without violating a state’s sunshine law? What are the consequences of committing an error?

In a unit on teacher rights and freedoms, the author reviews public criticism by school personnel. Do teachers relinquish First Amendment rights when a school district is attempting to pass a bond issue or implement a new school board policy? Simply put, what academic freedoms do teachers enjoy inside and outside the classroom?

A particularly helpful section deals with the law on disabilities. Bradley addresses the suspension and expulsion of students with disabilities, which can become a costly matter.

Reviewed by Jerry Horgen, adjunct professor of educational leadership, St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud, Minn., and Capella University, Minneapolis, Minn.