The Legal Rights of Students is part of a series of General Counsel Law Notes written with the support of the NASW Legal Defense Fund.
This law note reviews major legal issues affecting the practice of school social workers under the multitude of jurisdictions that exercise control over public and private schools in the United States and includes
- a brief summary of the history of school social work as a specialty practice;
- an overview of school social worker credentialing from the perspectives of NASW state licensing boards;
- an elaboration of legal rights within the public education system, including the right to a public education, parental rights, rights to receive special education services, rights of LGBT students, and rights designed to protect the interest of diversity within schools and eliminate systemic gender-based discrimination;
- a discussion of sensitive issues related to students' rights and the school environment, including harassment in school, search and seizure, drug testing, student dropout, student homelessness, and transportation of students in school personnel's private vehicles; and
- an examination of issues specifically related to the provision of social work services in schools—parental consent, confidentiality , and information sharing (including Section 1.07 of the NASW Code of Ethics, Privacy and Confidentiality).
The Legal Rights of Students provides an introduction to significant legal issues regarding social work practice in U.S. schools. It is not intended to provide answers to specific legal problems in particular schools or as a substitute for consultation with an attorney regarding the local, state, or federal laws that are relevant to specific legal questions.
The NASW General Counsel Law Note series provides information to social workers about legal topics of concern to the social work profession. The Law Notes are developed with the support and financial assistance of the NASW Legal Defense Fund (LDF). Contents vary by title, but generally include legal information, civil procedure, contracts, legal methods, and glossaries. Checklists, timetables, case law, and other resources help social workers understand and exercise their legal rights and responsibilities as well as the rights and responsibilities of their clients.