Rights of Teachers
Marsha Little Matthews
Historically, teachers in the United States have had few rights other than those granted by local school boards. Public school teachers do not lose their constitutional rights when they sign a teaching contract; however, the courts tend to apply a balancing test when these rights are in conflict with legitimate school administration interests relating to the business of education. Teachers also are entitled to rights created by federal and state statutes. There has been considerable litigation since the mid-twentieth century over limitations imposed on teachers in and out of the classroom. As a result, the courts have defined the rights of teachers and permissible limitations on those rights and freedoms. Several federal acts provide additional protections via the Fourteenth Amendment, which prohibits states from depriving individuals “of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” This entry looks at teachers' rights in the areas of speech/expression, privacy, religion, and ...