Teachers are role models for younger generations. They are expected to uphold social norms and set examples of proper behavior. Often, those expectations carry beyond working hours into the personal lives of public education teachers. That responsibility can lead to infringement of their established rights. Research shows that it is possible to balance teachers rights with their obligations to the children and families they serve.
The Rights of Educators
While teachers are expected to be role models, and certain behaviors can be mandated on school property and during working hours, they are also individuals whose rights are protected by local, state and federal laws. Some examples of teachers rights that are protected under the law include, among others, the right to:
- Practice their religion of choice
- Choose educational opportunities for their children
- Maintain their privacy
- Share their opinions and viewpoints
Expectations Put on Teachers
Teachers are expected to conduct themselves in a way that models appropriate behavior. This is especially true for educators who are active members of the communities where they teach. They must take care to exercise their rights in an appropriate and socially responsible way. This allows them to be exemplary models of the ideals of the school districts they represent.
Schools may not base employment decisions, such as hiring, firing or eligibility for promotion, on opinions shared through the exercising of fundamental rights. Appropriate liability coverage can offer protection against claims made as a result of teachers’ behavior.