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Answers to common legal questions posted to the knowledgebase
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There were 48 articles found in this category:

  1. questionOpen admission
    What is open admission? Is it the law? How do I know which schools have open admission? Must the school district have a policy in their policy manual stating that they have open admission? School districts in Montana are required to admit children to school that are the appropriate age if a pare ...
  2. questionStudent suspension and expulsion
    Unless a student is a special education student, it appears that there is no clear rule or regulation that sets a maximum number of days allowed for a student suspension. When does an extended suspension become an expulsion? There is no law or rule that speaks to the exact number of days of susp ...
  3. questionBreach of contract
    I heard that there is a law that states if I have signed a contract to teach for the following year, I have until July 1st to resign from that contract. Is that true? Would there be any penalties for doing so? No, its not true. There is a statute and an administrative rule that provide that a s ...
  4. questionSchool drop out age
    At what age can a student drop out of school in Montana? Section 20-5-103 of the Montana statutes provides that a student has to attend school until the later of the following dates: The child's 16th birthday or the date of completion of the 8th grade. The provisions of this section don't apply ...
  5. questionstudent records
    What should we do when a student leaves our school and no other school requests his records? We have waited over a month for a records request. Schools are required to maintain a permanent record file for each student. Copies of these records are forwarded to schools who request them. There is r ...
  6. questiontruancy
    Where is a court of competent jurisdiction? 20-5-106 Truancy (1) ...If the child is not excused..., the attendance officer shall file a complaint against such person in a court of competent jurisdiction. Will the parent, guardian, or other person responsible for the care of the child always rece ...
  7. questionSchool responsibility for students
    When does the school accept responsibility for students? When they leave home or when they get to school? Is it the law? Montana law provides that a student is subject to the control and authority of the school once the student leaves her or his house on the way to school. "A pupil shall: (a) co ...
  8. questionRemoval of School Board Chairman
    What is the procedure for removing a school board chairman? Removing an elected official from office is not an easy undertaking. This answer is not a substitute for independent legal advice. If your question pertains to the removal of a trustee as the chairman of the board, Montana law provides ...
  9. questionchurch days
    Is there a state law requiring public schools to recognize Wednesday (or any other day) as a "church" day or "religion" day. If so, what are the requirements of this law? (i.e. - homework, extra-curricular activities, etc.) There is no state law requiring schools to recognize Wednesdays as a "ch ...
  10. questionLaws protecting children and staff from other children
    What are the laws protecting children, monitors and teachers from other students who bite, spit, hit, and cause physical harm? Students are subject to the requirements of 20-5-201, MCA which is reproduced in full below. School districts have policies which address student behaviors and the conse ...
  11. questionWho is responsible for assuring compliance with the Montana Accreditation Standards?
    In Montana, the trustees of each school district are ultimately responsible for every aspect of the school district. Our Constitution establishes this model of strong local control in Article X, Section 8: "The supervision and control of schools in each school district shall be vested in a board ...
  12. questionCan a Montana school district be sued in negligence for educational malpractice?
    In response to the first part of your question -- yes, a school district can be sued. The Montana Constitution provides that "the state, counties, cities, towns, and all other local governmental entities shall have no immunity from suit for injury to a person or property, except as may be specif ...
  13. questionCan schools charge fees for band class?
    The school my son is attending has band NOT AS A CHOICE, but as part of their curriculum. Meaning every 5th and 6th grader has to take this class. The problem I have with this is that they do not have enough materials {instruments} for every child and would like parents to either rent or buy. My ...
  14. questionparent advocacy - teacher training -
    I'm wondering how schools are held accountable for guidance strategies for children without disabilities. Are there any specific guidelines to follow? To what extent are schools required, if at all, to individualize for non disabled students? Also, how are training dollars dispersed to schoo ...
  15. questionStudent threatening another student
    What rights does a parent have when his son is threatened at school, by another student. The other student said, "When I bring a gun to school your the first one I'm going to get." The principal is aware of this because it has also been brought to her attention before, and nothing has been done ...
  16. questionLegal Responsibility of a teacher on a playground
    If a school board was to allow contact sports at recess, what are the legal responsibilities of teachers? As a general rule, teachers supervise students, provide proper instruction, and maintain district equipment. A teacher's legal responsibilities are, in part, outlined in state statutory law ...
  17. questionExcessive excused absenses
    Any suggestions to address excessive excused absences in a school policy? Some parents will call the school to excuse a child 20 to 30 times a year! School policies are established by the elected board of trustees. In order to change policy you can work with your parents' council at your school ...
  18. questionHow can school districts combine or merge?
    There are two ways that school districts can merge: school district annexation (MCA 20-6-422) and school district consolidation (MCA 20-6-423). I've given you the Montana Code/Statute for these. You can find the full statutes for these two citations at: http://data.opi.mt.gov/bills/mca_toc/20_6 ...
  19. questionCan Trustees tell a teacher how to teach?
    Is it legal for a school board to tell its teachers HOW to teach if, up to this point, there has been no formal complaint about how the teachers were teaching? Your question does not explain in what manner the school board is telling "its teachers how to teach." Generally, the constitution and s ...
  20. questionSchool Board member speaking out
    Can a School Board member speak about a specific individual without them being present at a public meeting in regard to a position and adding something negative about that person? OPI does not advise either board members or members of the public about board matters. Boards of trustees in Montana ...
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