The role of teachers in society can not be underestimated; indeed teachers play a crucial task in shaping the future of students and society at large. However, how teachers are supposed to conduct their roles has been an issue of debate for a long time now. The freedoms and rights of teachers in conducting their profession have attracted mixed reactions. Whether the judicial system and administrators should influence the teacher’s rights or not has remained elusive. It is against this background that teachers’ freedom has become an issue in modern-day society. The conduct and mannerisms of teachers in their place of work have also been subject to debate. Whether teachers should be left to conduct them the way they choose to or not has been a hot issue.
In an educational environment, the rights and freedoms of teachers ought to be guaranteed. It is every teacher’s legal right to choose how to conduct himself or herself and also to choose how to conduct the roles of their profession. However, the issues at stake are extended to which these rights and freedoms are supposed to be extended. Whether on or they apply to certain aspects is the main issue of concern. For instance, in a scenario where the conduct of teachers attracts complaints from different quarters, hat action is to be taken. Mrs. Ash‘s conversion to a denomination has brought about a turn of events as far as her behavior is concerned. Her new religious beliefs cause her to change behavior in a manner that irritates and annoys not only the staff but also the student fraternity. At stake, therefore, is the legal implication of her conduct. Whether or not she is legally right to behave the way she does is a matter of concern (Essex, 2009). The other issue is which action should be taken against her by the administration and whether the administration has the legal right to take such an action. This aspect complicates the entire ambiance of the educational environment (Greenhouse & Rubin, 1984). The restriction of teachers’ rights and freedoms should be done away with, bearing in mind that to carry out their duties they require some rights and freedoms. Choice of topics and how to approach their work for instance should be left entirely to them. Any further restrictions will jeopardize the teaching endeavor. Their tasks should not be looked at with contempt. The issues at stake involve the rights and freedoms of teachers and their scope. The most important thing is to extend to which these rights go. This has become a bone of contention due to some behavior of teachers which has been perceived as overstepping their legal rights. Some teachers have therefore abused their rights by conducting themselves in a manner that irritates others and oversteps their mandate. This abuse of freedoms and rights has led to various motions to restrict and regulate the teaching profession to prevent further abuse of legal rights.
The violation of teacher legal rights
Under normal circumstances, the teachers are entitled to their legal rights and freedoms in discharging their professional duties (Bolmeire, 2008). They are protected under the law to have the freedom to select what to teach and how to teach. These rights extend to the way they conduct themselves in educational environments. Teachers are therefore not bound by the opinion of other people whether in the educational environment or outside. The behavior and conduct of teachers therefore should not be subjected to public opinion and analysis. In the case of Mrs. Ash, her change of denomination and subsequent alteration of behavior should not cause tension since it is her legal right. The law stipulates that everyone enjoys the right to worship in the manner of their choice. Her right to religion should not be infringed due to public opinion. Those against her new denomination and its sets of beliefs better understand that it is each one’s choice to worship as they want. In other cases, conflict arises over the choice of the topics for discussion and learning. Some people have been uncomfortable with a certain choice of controversial topics due to the fact they agitate social tension. However, the choice of topics and their application lies squarely in the domain of teachers. The choice of topics especially of social science, sometimes brew controversy and it is from here that the issues of conflict emanate. However such incidents are only interested in violating teachers’ sovereign rights and denying them the freedoms they deserve.
The choice of topics of study for instance is entirely a domain of teachers. As far as some of their choices may spur controversy there is no need of restricting teachers’ mandate in this area. Social science has been cited as a controversial subject as far as topics are concerned. However, it must be understood that controversy is natural and therefore we teachers cannot be held responsible for the nature of the subjects they teach. It is immoral to use teachers as sacrificial lambs when controversy emanates from educational institutions. In democratic societies, everyone is free to indulge in any activity as long as it does not infringe the rights of others. The government, political class, and the moral [police cannot restrict teachers’ liberties in discharging their roles. Teachers have a right to discharge their roles in a manner they find suitable as long as they don’t break the law or infringe others’ rights. How they conduct themselves should also not be scrutinized since they have a right to carry themselves the way they want so long as they don’t break the law. Putting too many restrictions on teachers will make their lives so difficult that it will affect the way they discharge their duties.
Overexpression of freedoms
There are certain moments in which the teachers go beyond their rights and freedoms. In other words, they overstep their mandate and engage in unbecoming behaviors in the name of freedom. By all means, the rights and freedoms of teachers in the discharge of their professional duties should not be misconstrued as tickets to misadventure. Teachers must maintain discipline knowing that they are the custodians of ethics and morality. Therefore haphazard behavior cannot be tolerated in educational institutions since it will affect the students’ perceptions of reality (Thomas Et al, 2008). Therefore teachers must follow a certain code of rules and regulations to prevent errant ones from misleading the young ones. Society cannot play dice with the future of its citizens; therefore the conduct of teachers must be regulated. Mrs. Ash’s conduct is an insult to decency and violates professional ethics. She does not have the right to disturb the peace of others in the name of religious freedom. She must be reminded that everyone has a religion and she should be advised to stop her public display of faith. Religion being a personal choice should not be displayed in public; she must keep her faith in herself and allow the rest to do the same. Mrs. Ash’s conduct amounts to an illegal act she should be prosecuted for violating the law. No law permits her public display of faith bearing in mind that her actions irritate and annoy the students and staff. The principal should respond by asking her to change her behavior by keeping her faith in herself. Failure to do that the principal should initiate legal actions against her (Flygate, 1976).
The legal rights and freedoms of teachers must be upheld, there is no point in giving them responsibility and denying them their freedoms at the same time. Other arms of society must be supportive of the teachers and their profession. Their rights should not be infringed just due to public opinion. However, teachers must show responsibility at the same time they must regulate themselves or be regulated. The kind of task they play is so critical that they cannot escape the public eye/. Therefore indecent acts in the name of freedom shall not be tolerated and teachers must be prosecuted when they fail to follow their law. Mrs. Ash is entitled to freedom of religion but she must take great care in the manner in which she conducts her religious faith so as not to irritate others. She must be made to understand that freedom is not a ticket to haphazard behavior since everybody enjoys the same freedoms. She must therefore be prosecuted for going against the law by publicly displaying her faith in a manner that annoys and irritates others.
Flygate, T., (1976). The legal rights of teachers. Philadelphia: Delta Kappa Educational Foundation.
Thomas, S., Et al (2008). Legal Rights of Teachers and Students. New York: Pearson Education.
Bolmeire, E. (2008). Teachers’ legal rights, restraints, and liabilities. California: University of California.
Essex, N. (2009). The 200 Most Frequently Asked Legal Questions for Educators. Texas: Corwin Publishers.
Greenhouse, S. & Rubin D., (1984). The rights of teachers: the basic ACLU guide to a teacher’s constitutional rights. Michigan: University of Michigan.