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CEAI Members ask…The answers or opinions expressed in this article are not intended to render legal advice. The factual and legal issues in each circumstance must be considered and may require the advice of an attorney.

I am a first-year teacher, and it’s been a difficult year. The administration said they won’t renew my contract for next year. I have been asked to submit my resignation to avoid the non-renewal of my contract. What should I do?
You should avoid resigning. The only party that benefits from your resignation is the district. They are pushing for you to resign so they limit their liability for unemployment compensation. 
Instead of resigning, I suggest you start searching for a new teaching position while still under contract, and force them to non-renew your contract if you don’t find a new position. Some districts actually pressure teachers to resign while never intending to follow through with non-renewal.
This is a complicated topic, so we advise that you contact CEAI for individual counsel on the specifics of your situation.

A friend of mine is interested in joining CEAI because his union isn’t supporting him after an incident occurred at his school. If he becomes a member, can you assist him? I believe he is going to need an attorney, and he definitely needs some guidance.
CEAI membership with Professional Liability Insurance benefits must be in place at the time the incident occurs. If your friend joined today, he would be covered for incidents from today going forward only. We compare it to trying to purchase fire insurance after you’ve had a fire—the insurance company wouldn’t cover damages from a previous fire.
CEAI's Director of Legal Services is an attorney, and she is available to give guidance to members and non-members alike. She could talk with your friend. If he actually does need legal representation, she could help him find a local attorney, but CEAI’s job action coverage would not cover those representation costs.

I have worked in our school district for many years and have always received good evaluations. Recently, our district has undergone a major restructuring of our schools. Do I have any say in being able to stay in my current position or must I accept the reassignment, regardless of where they put me?
Certainly, make your desire to stay in your current position known to your principal if you have not already done so. Although many districts take seniority into account when deciding placement, this is an administrative decision unless directed differently by contract (which is rare). When mentioned in the contract, it usually says that seniority will be considered, but the administration will make the placement they feel is best for the district. 
Seniority usually does drive a reduction in force (RIF) if staff is to be eliminated, but rarely affects assignments. I wish I had better news, but at least it appears that you will stay employed.  
The Lord can change the course of mighty rivers, so I’m confident He can direct the placement in which He would have you serve. I suggest you talk with Him about this. You just may see His Purposes in this move, even if you didn’t request it.

I have been a substitute teacher for years and feel I have been discriminated against over the years (taken off the sub-list for no apparent reason). I am interested in forming a union for substitute teachers. Can you give me advice on how to proceed?
There are no state laws that guarantee the same job protection for substitutes as those for contracted teachers. Organizing a union to receive job protection would be futile. 
Although substitutes can’t obtain job protection, CEAI does provide their “substitute members with coverage” the same level of professional liability coverage that “teacher and administrator members with coverage” receive. Most local unions do not provide any form of protection for substitutes. CEAI is the only association I am aware of with a membership specifically for substitute teachers. 

I am an advisor for a student-run Christian club that meets on a public school campus. A parent whose child is not even involved in our club is demanding to know if students of all sexual orientations are eligible for leadership positions. I explained that we do not ask students about their sexual orientations, but he is demanding a yes or no answer to his question.
Not all questions can be answered with a yes or no answer. I suggest you respond with a copy of the organization’s qualifications for leadership. For example, some organizations include requirements like a personal relationship with Jesus Christ or a lifestyle of sexual purity. I suggest you stick to the exact wording from the organization without engaging in a debate.

 To submit questions regarding school law issues relating to religious freedoms to experienced attorneys, visit Ask an Attorney on our website.  For all other legal inquiries email To submit questions regarding educational issues to our experienced educators, visit Ask an Educator on our website.


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