WMU News

Course focuses on schools, students and the law

April 21, 2003

KALAMAZOO -- From conducting searches of students' cars and lockers to screening book bags and backpacks, school administrators each day face challenges in protecting young people while following the letter of the law.

Thomas M. Cooley Law School and Western Michigan University explore these matters and more in "Constitutional Law Issues for Public Schools," a collaborative, 15-session course scheduled to begin May 5 at WMU's Lansing campus.

The course is an example of the growing alliance between Cooley and WMU. The schools joined forces in November, to bring the first full-time law program to West Michigan. In addition, WMU and Cooley offer a joint Juris Doctorate and Master of Public Administration degree in Lansing under a December 2001 agreement.

Although the class will be led by attorney and legal scholar Philip J. Prygoski, it's not intended for law school students only, says Gus Breymann, director of the WMU-Lansing campus.

"Others who can benefit from registering for the course include school board members, public school administrators, civics teachers, public school staff who are responsible for enforcing discipline, and anyone interested in protecting the constitutional rights of students," says Breymann.

The course, which covers the rights of public school students and the powers of public school authorities, will be taught on Mondays from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Its focus will be the search and seizure rights of students under the Fourth Amendment, and select student rights under the First Amendment.

Prygoski, whose law review articles on constitutional law are widely published, is the founder and director of the Michigan Indian Law Center. He has also taught as a visiting law professor at universities in Wisconsin, Tennessee and Oklahoma.

Tuition for the class is $530, plus a $25 technology fee. There also is a $25 application fee. For information, contact (517) 327-1480 or <eup-lansing-info@wmich.edu>.

Media contact: Gail Towns, 269 387-8400, gail.towns@wmich.edu

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