A great many people spend a great deal of time together in the various institutions of education. Situations like these are intrinsically prone to conflicts. A handsome majority of these are quickly and lawfully resolved by the persons concerned. However, more and more people feel that these conflicts have legal aspects, that is, the answer should be sought in the rules of law. This is very often not at all simple. Local and central rules are at times fairly diffuse and complicated; they change often and are not easy to access. To answer a question it is not always enough only to know the rules relevant to education: school and university relations involve a number of other fields of the law.
It happens ever more often that people ask us for information for them to reach a better understanding of their situation. They do not request any investigation yet, they do not yet know whether their rights have been violated; they would only like to see clearly beforehand. The educational participants want to make responsible decisions and to do so they need information: they want to know if it is lawful to use corporal punishment as a disciplinary action at school; whether the picture taken of the physical education class can be published on the school homepage; if it qualifies as a free assembly of students if the demonstration is organised by the school; if the teacher has competence to investigate in the case of theft at school; whether a kindergarten teacher is required to take special care of the child who suffers from diabetes; if students can request a copy of their test paper; whether it is the school's obligation to help a student who is a private student for reasons of disease prepare for his or her exams; if any fee can be charged for outdoor environmental education; if state-financed students can on any grounds be requested to pay a fee; and if students with dyslexia can be required to take a language examination for the award of their diploma.
There are ever more people thinking that legislative rules should serve as a point of reference which is equally binding to all, so that in the event of dispute it is not taste, morality, power relations, origin or social status that determine who is right. Furnished with the necessary information, people can decide if they wish to request assistance for the protection of their rights. This undoubtedly demands some sort of civil courage, as without it, there is no effective legal aid. Those who are not familiar with the rules relevant to them, or even those being informed of such rules but reluctant to take action against the infringement are all bound to lose. In publishing this report our primary goal is that by acquainting the public with the cases presented herein, there be less of us who lose.
Lawful solutions benefit us all!
15 March 2006