Best Interests of the Student : Applying Ethical Constructs to Legal Cases in Education book cover
2nd Edition

Best Interests of the Student
Applying Ethical Constructs to Legal Cases in Education

ISBN 9780415823791
Published October 29, 2013 by Routledge
256 Pages

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Book Description

Best Interests of the Student presents both a theoretical model for guiding educators as they confront legal and ethical dilemmas in their schools, as well as highly accessible and annotated court cases for exploration. Stefkovich introduces an ethical decision-making model that focuses on strategies for determining what actions are in the "best interests of the student," and demonstrates the application of this theoretical model for examining legal and ethical dimensions of court cases. Discussion questions at the end of each case encourage readers to examine issues from differing viewpoints, helping them to become more self-reflective school leaders who can effectively address legal dilemmas in their own contexts. This important text is a valuable resource for both aspiring and practicing school administrators and leaders.

This thoroughly revised edition features:

  • An entirely new chapter focusing on issues surrounding technology, specifically bullying, harassment, and "sexting"
  • 13 new legal cases to reflect recent developments in school law, including issues of free speech, teacher accountability, and school policies
  • A continued focus on preparing leaders to meet the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium (ISLLC) ethics standard

Table of Contents


Part I A Conceptual Framework

1 Introduction

2 Conceptualizing an Ethical Framework for Educational Leaders

3 A Model for Promoting the Student’s Best Interests

4 The Courts, the Law, and Ethics

5 Applying Ethical Constructs to Legal Cases

Part II Students’ Fundamental Rights

6 Freedom of Speech

7 Religious Expression

8 Censorship and Viewpoint Discrimination

9 Technology, Cyberbullying, & Sexting

10 The Right to Privacy

11 School Safety and Zero Tolerance

Part III School Governance, the Curriculum, and the Student

12 Academic Standards, Assessment, and the Right to Education

13 Teachers, Learning, and the Curriculum

14 Governmental Immunity

15 Equity, Equality, and Equal Protection

Part IV Conclusions

16 Conclusions

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Jacqueline Stefkovich is Professor in the Department of Education Policy Studies at the Pennsylvania State University, USA.


"Best Interests of the Students is an ideal book to use in preparing school administrators. It provides a readable, accessible, thoughtful consideration of pertinent legal cases; gives readers an understanding of different perspectives on the cases; and raises questions to consider these legal rulings from an ethical perspective. I know of no other book on the market that offers such a thoughtful consideration of the intersection of law and ethics for school administrators and would-be administrators."

--Norma T. Mertz, Interim Department Head and Professor, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, University of Tennessee

Praise for First Edition:

"Best Interests of the Student: Applying Ethical Constructs to Legal Cases in Education is an exciting effort in bridging the gap that currently exists between how the education and legal community address issues of ethics and the law in the context of educational environments...[It] provides a wonderful tool for those within the educational community interested in exploring more deeply values, ethics, and their application to decision-making within the context of legal cases."

--Teachers College Record