Constitutional Issues

Rights guaranteed by the state and federal constitutions are a part of daily school life. School boards and their employees must apply constitutional principles almost daily in addressing student discipline, student and faculty speech, prayer and other issues of religious freedom, searches and seizures, and the due process rights of tenured or contracted employees.

Constitutional cases can arise from vaccination requirements, police dog searches, limitations on advertising at ball fields, drug testing of student athletes, student and staff leave policies, locker searches, e-mail searches, student suspensions, distribution of written materials at school, and many other school activities. The education law section at Tharrington Smith has decades of cumulative experience and has defended lawsuits in state in federal court in many areas of constitutional law, including student due process, employee due process, desegregation, free speech, freedom of religion, and other matters. With this experience, we are able to advise school districts on forward-thinking policies and practices to uphold constitutional principles and avoid court fights where possible. We also provide training on constitutional and other issues to help school staff understand constitutional boundaries. However, we also serve as vigorous advocates in upholding the actions of our clients when challenged on constitutional grounds in state or federal courts.

Among the many constitutional law topics our lawyers routinely handle are the following:

  • Free Speech – Employees
  • Free Speech – Students
  • Free Speech of Outside Individual and Entities
  • Search & Seizure – Employees
  • Search & Seizure – Students
  • Due Process – Employees
  • Due Process – Students
  • Religion in the Public Schools
  • The Equal Access Act
  • Equal Protection under the Law
  • School Desegregation
  • School Uniforms and Dress Codes

Our education lawyers are leaders in the field of education law. Passionate about both education and the law, our education lawyers are experienced, responsive, and professional. In addition to the constitutional law issues described above, the education law team at Tharrington Smith provides a full range of legal services to public school districts and private education facilities. Our lawyers are available to respond to an RFP answering your school board’s legal needs.