The Swier Law Firm Education Law FAQs
Have questions? We have answers! Our South Dakota attorneys answer the questions they hear most often from clients just like you.
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May a school district require the random drug testing of students who participate in extracurricular activities?
Yes. In Board of Education of Independent School District No. 92 of Pottawatomie County v. Earls, 536 U.S. 822 (2002), the Supreme Court held that mandatory, suspicionless drug testing of public high school students participating in extracurricular activities is a constitutionally reasonable intrusion that furthers a public school’s legitimate interest in deterring drug use among children.
The Supreme Court further found that a public school does not need to demonstrate a pervasive drug problem among the population subject to testing to warrant the intrusion. In sum, the Supreme Court determined that the government’s compelling interest in preventing and eradicating drug use among children outweighs the limited privacy expectations held by public middle and high school students.
In South Dakota, can a public school district employee lose his job if he runs for public office?
No. Under South Dakota law, no employee of a public school can lose his job or job status for becoming a candidate for any public office if it does not entail neglect of duty.
In South Dakota, who has supervision over school libraries?
The secretary of education has supervision over school libraries.
Do South Dakota's public schools have to permit military and National Guard recruiters access to students?
Yes. Any public secondary school accredited by the South Dakota Department of Education, and any public postsecondary school, located in South Dakota, must permit active duty and reserve duty military recruiters or South Dakota National Guard military recruiters reasonable access to school facilities and students, at reasonable times and at reasonable places, for the purposes of providing information about military careers and benefits.
In South Dakota, can a student that is expelled or suspended in one school district enroll in another school district before the expulsion or suspension has expired?
No. Under South Dakota law, if a student is under suspension or expulsion in a school district, the student cannot enroll in any school district until the suspension or expulsion has expired.
Under what circumstances does a South Dakota high school athlete need to be removed from participation because of concussion symptoms?
Under South Dakota law, an athlete must be removed from participation in any athletic activity sanctioned by the South Dakota High School Activities Association at the time the athlete either (1) exhibits signs, symptoms, or behaviors consistent with a concussion; or (2) is suspected of sustaining a concussion.
How can a school district best manage custody conflicts between parents or other caretakers?
Unfortunately, the law often does not provide clear guidance to school officials about how to resolve custody conflicts between parents or other caretakers. Therefore, it is important that school officials establish guidelines to deal with these conflicts.
School policies should be designed to minimize custodial conflicts and encourage parents and other caretakers to resolve these disputes away from the school grounds. These guidelines are offered as examples of policies that may assist school officials in managing custodial disputes.
When a child is enrolled the school should:
1. Ask for information about the marital status of the student's parents and, if the parents are not living together, ask about the child custody arrangements;
2. Obtain identifying information about the child's parents if the child is living with someone other than the parents;
3. Ask for copies of the most recent court orders, separation agreements, or other documents affecting the child's custody or legal status;
4. Inform parents or caretakers, in writing, of the school's policies relating to visiting students during schol hours and removing students from school during school hours; and
5. Make it clear that the information is requested to protect parents' rights and safeguard students.
Are uncertified school administrators subject to the South Dakota Professional Administrators Code of Ethics?
Yes. In South Dakota, anyone employed in an administrative capacity, but who does not hold a valid South Dakota certificate, is subject to the code of professional ethics as established under SDCL 13-43-45.
May retired school district employees serve on a school board?
Yes. State law allows a former school district employees to serve on a school board.
For more information about school district organization in South Dakota, read Chapter 3 of The South Dakota School Law Deskbook.
In South Dakota, what are a school board’s powers?
A school board has the general charge, direction, and management of the district’s schools and the control and care of all property belonging to the district’s schools.
A school board may levy taxes, borrow money, employ any necessary personnel, lease real and personal property, carry liability and other insurance, or in lieu of insurance make other arrangements, including entering into agreements with others, which agreements may create separate legal or administrative entities pursuant to S.D.C.L. 1-24 to protect and assist a school board in meeting obligations arising from such acts or omissions for which a school board may be legally liable.
A school board may also purchase necessary books and equipment, purchase real property, and erect necessary buildings for the operation of the school district.
For more information about a South Dakota school board's authority, read Chapter 3 of The South Dakota School Law Deskbook.