W. Gregory Ward
Education law holds deed to center stage in this edition of The Alabama Lawyer, which I think you will find to be bright and alive and brimming with interesting information, useful tools, and vigorous explanations.
I have long been surrounded by educators. My uncle was a superintendent of education, and several of my family members are teachers. Just like you, I logged a lot of school time en route to the diplomas that allow me to practice law. And the whole time I was in school I was oblivious that a team of lawyers was swimming beside me and enabling my education.
When we were looking for a theme for an upcoming edition, it surprised us to learn that education was an under-served topic in our magazine. Here is what we decided to do about that.
My first impulse was to call Jayne Harrell Williams. Jayne is general counsel to the Alabama Association of School Boards, and my go-to person when an education law issue stumps me. She is in touch with the very best education lawyers, and she has the knack of knowing what is going on in the field of education. I asked if she'd be interested in helping us put together this issue. She jumped on it, and she gets all of the credit for the terrific articles inside.
We start off with Jayne's introduction, and it is worth reading (page 414). She's a delight.
Our first substantive article is Chris Pape and Zachary Roberson's treatment of First Amendment issues. Yes, that sounds dry. But it isn't. They set the stage by putting us in the middle of a fight between a mayor running for reelection on the promise that he will combine two high schools, a high schooler who opposes the move and wants to write about it in her school newspaper, and a school-employed tutor who starts a petition to have the principal fired. Squabbling ensues. Using this miseen scene, our authors do a terrific job exploring the various rights and responsibilities of the parties. You' ll have so much fun reading it that you'll barely notice how much you've learned (page 416).
In an entirely practical article, Melissa McKie clears the air about student records. She explains what student records are, who has access to them (the answer will surprise you), and how lawyers can go about getting them. She tells us why some information can be made public-for example, information in school...