Times have changed to say the least. Today's increasingly litigious society touches on every aspect of our world, and school systems are not exempt by any means.

Whether it's a challenge to the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance or the use of drug testing on student-athletes, school systems are subject to many complex legal mandates. In fact, over the past few decades, the Supreme Court has stepped in and reviewed far-reaching disputes related to K-12 education. Lower courts are equally involved, as cases wend their way through the judicial system. With thousands of published court decisions regarding K-12 education, how do you keep up?

And to make matters even more complicated, school law is continually evolving due to new court cases that challenge existing laws. For example, technological advances offer new avenues of communication, changing the way we have traditionally thought of free speech. Can a school district fire a teacher who posts inappropriate photos on Facebook? Is it legal for a teacher to use her blog to criticize students? Educators must be well versed in all aspects of school law in order to protect themselves and their schools from litigation.

Here's how the School Law Online Graduate Certificate will support you in furthering your knowledge:

Exposure to diverse legal issues: During this 12-credit online program, we will cover a wide range of important legal issues, including:

  • Educational technology (copyright, acceptable use policies, social media, “sexting,” cyberbullying, virtual education).
  • Parent and student rights (search and seizure, student discipline, speech and religion, homeless children).
  • Special education (individual educational plans, free and appropriate public education, least restrictive environment, student discipline).
  • Employment (teacher termination, collective bargaining, discrimination, speech protection, drug testing).

Real-world learning: During each course, you will be exposed to many current case studies that deal with all kinds of issues for which you may have legal exposure.  Through class discussions, essay writings, and videos, you'll be asked to analyze the event based upon the rulings given to you by the instructor. You'll also be assigned several projects throughout the program. For example, in EDLR 6001 – Legal Issues in Student and Parent Rights, you'll have the opportunity to go into a classroom and assess the environment, identifying potential dangers to students and determining the steps you can take to address the problems.

Not limited to Connecticut laws: When you participate in the School Law Program, you will learn about general legal principles that apply to public schools. Thus, the information that you will learn will not be limited to the State of Connecticut.

100% online: Yes, there are deadlines. But our online platform - HuskyCT/Blackboard - allows you to work at your own pace and on your own time (asynchronous), at home or in your office. You may also be surprised to discover that our online platform creates a highly interactive, collaborative learning experience. How? Faculty members post questions to a discussion board to which students add their responses—and can respond to each other, providing invaluable feedback and insights. Students have time to think and edit before they post—even those individuals who may be reluctant to talk in a traditional classroom setting tend to feel more comfortable expressing their ideas and views.

Start with just one course: You can choose only those courses that support your specific interests and learning objectives. In fact, you can take up to two courses as a "Non-Degree" student. Should you then decide to continue with the full program, those course credits are transferable as long as you receive a "B-" or better.

Great credential to add to your resume: If you're looking for a new position, or if you want to move up within your school system, adding this UConn credential may give you the leverage you need. Just like every undergraduate and graduate degree our students earn, every online graduate certificate we award bears the signature of the University of Connecticut—it's your assurance that your credentials come straight from one the nation's Top 25 Universities.

Instant connection to the UConn network: When you participate in the School Law online program, you are treated like any UConn student and have full access to all of the resources available through the university.