History of Student’s Rights
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According to Cubberley, the eighteenth century was a turning point where academic freedom for most western nations was ushered in and also marked the end of medievalism. At the beginning of the century the old religious problems, had caused a steady growth of indifferences in all countries resulting to an uprising against religious control over human affairs. This change in attitude towards the old problems gave rise to new types of academic inquiry, an improvement of scientific thinking and discovery, lead to awareness of national problems and national welfare, and brought worldly wellbeing to a degree practically unknown since the days of ancient Rome. The rise of this new interest in academic growth was a result of long series of arrangements to gain academic freedom and needed human progress which was ongoing since the days when study generalia and guilds first arose in Western Europe. The rise of the universities, the revival of learning, the protestant revolts, and the rise of modern scientific inquiry was as a result of protests against mediaeval tendency to bind the human mental power. The protests was against dictatorship by either church or state and at the close of the century, ancient privileges, abuses and barriers were swept away marking intellectual, human, and political progress which characterized the nineteenth century. There were many advantages brought by the change of attitude towards the mediaeval supernatural theology which had dominated the human thinking for long. This included evolution of a new theory of moral action independent of theology, new scientific spirit free from church control, new political systems, evolution of citizens and advancement of modern governments and destruction of old political system .The modern society became interested in problems of national welfare and the government became interested in commerce, industry, science, economies, education and social welfare (Cubberley, 2008).
The history of mediaeval universities is found in records and is important not only to students but also to administrators of modern higher education. Universities affairs of the twentieth century are influenced by what universities did six centuries ago (Cubberley, 2008). According to Rashdall, a leading authority of mediaeval universities, if we want to understand completely the meaning of offices, titles, ceremonies, organization conserved in the most modern and most practical which bear the name of a university, we must go back to the earliest days of the earliest universities that ever existed and trace the history of their chief successor .The knowledge of the history of education practically influences those concerned with universities affairs and helps in shaping theories determining the educational practice. The study of the earlier education institutions problems and growth prepare us to understand and tolerate a variety of usages and also leads us to view their adaptation to new conditions as desirable. The academic man of the past was opposed to changes and to reduce this characteristic in future generations we must learn from them and try to progress the education we have today.
In the middle ages children past seven years were considered little and legal and social competence was assumed, but by the twentieth century, the concept of childhood had changed and fully differentiated from that of adulthood. An educational system was also designed to meet the needs of this age group. Today, schools officials elected to manage the schools are influenced by politics. They may make decisions that do not reflect the desires of people in the community. To increase the voice of the community in education affairs, decentralization and community control is practiced (Alan, 1973). Education options can exists where students, teachers and parents are provided with various educational alternatives to choose from. The education of today is flexible with a range of options without forcing people to accept option they are not attracted to. The students are also provided with resources and institutions rich with materials and specialized learning instruments from which the students can select and choose as they wish. Traditionally, all students would do the same thing at the same time but nowadays there are different specialized activities where learning projects is done individually and in small groups. Some schools are formed by the community and provide educational and other services to the children and adults as well. Here, Community teachers are used and services like health, legal aid and employment are within the school facilities. Education in schools today is limited by the curriculum and the teachers can only teach what is approved by the authorities (Walford, 1998). For a society to function the school has to follow social ideals, morals, ideas and religious values of the community and must reflect the community in which it is situated. Education encourages individuals to advance to the degree they are able to. Earlier school prepared the students for vocational education. According to Durkheim education reduces the class, religious and ethnic differences arising in the community where the students come from. However where there is a choice of school, differences will most likely exist.
Student’s rights should not be limited by their status as minors and they must be given an opportunity to exercise their responsibilities .This opportunity will help them grow into mature, responsible adults. Every child must attend school and regulations dealing with hours of study, testing, extracurricular activities and other matters must be followed. They can attend schools or be taught at home. All students have a right to equal protection and should not be discriminated against because of their race. They should also not be excluded from the school program if pregnant or married (National Society for the Study of Education, 1960). In Plessy v.ferguson (1896) equal protection was legally afforded by separate but equal educational facilities but it later change following brown decision in 1954 where it was concluded that the doctrine of “separate but equal ” has no place and was a discrimination against the blacks. This idea enabled the state to apply the law fairly to all citizens. Children with disabilities should be protected from discrimination. Their needs should be identified and special and regular education provided. Related aid and services to meet their needs should be provided like those for students without disabilities. They have additional rights that make it difficult to suspend or expel them and incase they cause violence they must be retained in their current placement pending the completion of lengthy official hearings (K & W 2003)
Searches should be conducted in a humane manner and their must exist a reasonable suspicion or evidence of a crime. Strip-searches are unconstitutional and should never be done. Punishment given to student should not be cruel, should not deprive them their interest in receiving education and should be proportionate to the offense committed. The punishment should be friendly and free from emotional distress. Touching of students unnecessarily should be avoided by the teachers and they are recommended to make sure doors are open or other persons are present when meeting with the students. The students have a responsibility of maintaining peace in school and sexual abuse or harassment of other students is not allowed. Students have a right to view their record kept by schools, prospective employers, government agencies and credit bureaus. The instructional materials used in research or experimentation must be available for inspection by the participating students’ parents and guardians and no student should be allowed to participate in testing, psychological examination, or treatments whose primary purpose is to disclose information concerning political affiliations, sexual behaviour, mental problems, income and other personal matters.
At school the students have a right to hold prayers and freely practice their religious beliefs. According to Judge Alphonso Taft, the government is neutral towards religion and while protecting all it should prefer none. Public schools teach about religion and the teachers and the school administrators should be neutral and are prohibited from encouraging some of the religious activities and discouraging others. Student may express their beliefs in the form of homework and they have a right to share religious literature to their schoolmates the same way they share other literature that is unrelated to school activities. The students have discretion to attend lessons that are objecting their religious views and they have a constitutional right to engage in individual or group prayers and religious discussions during the school days.
Students should avoid taking drugs and the Supreme Court has allowed drug testing to be done to those engaged in other extracurricular activities. They have rights pertaining to personal appearances and also responsible for their dressing and grooming. The dressing must not disrupt the school proceedings and the students have a right to vote for a dress code. Responsible students should avoid watching pornography and sending e-mails or post web pages that are considered not fit for them. They should follow and restrict themselves to the schools’ policies put in place for the internet use (Segall , 2004). Juvenile court system protects minors from negative effects of the adult system and certain procedural due process guarantees are now applicable to juveniles. This guarantee includes timely notice before hearings, right to be represented by a counsel, protection against self-incrimination and an opportunity for questioning the witnesses. Upon opening of the school, students have a right to receive a publication of rules and regulations to follow and this will also include the rights and responsibilities of the students (Tomlinson, 2006)
Students have a freedom to express their views except when such conduct invades the rights of others, disrupts class work and causes disorder. If the students’ causes disorder and disrupts the program of the school they can be arrested and taken to juvenile courts. In the case of Goss v. Lopez, it was decided that children has a legal right to public education and incase they face suspension they must be given some kind of notice and adequate opportunity to respond to charges made against them. A meeting to respond to the charges must be convened with the school authorities within 10 days. If the student faces expulsion the school should follow full procedure and most schools must have developed written policies governing suspensions and expulsion (Ornstein, 2007). This polices enhances standards that are uniform to all students .Students have a right to demonstrate and their rights are fully protected by the fourteenth Amendment. The students may exercise their right of free speech and assembly as long as they don’t interfere with the schools’ operations. All students have a right to vote annually, a representative student government with offices open to all students. He is elected to represent the students’ issues and should meet at least monthly with the principal to exchange views and share in the formulation of school policies. Students may form political and social organizations which must abide by board of education policies. (Bremner, 1970) .It is the responsibility of the student to respect the rights of their teachers and the other students in school.
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