The Full Collection of Justice in Schools Case Studies

Cases For:

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School Leaders

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Case School Level:

High School
Higher Education

The Job Search: Teaching for Social Justice

Towards the end of her Masters in Teaching, a preservice teacher grapples with whether or not to accept a job offer to teach at an urban charter school and discusses what it means to teach for social justice with a group of her colleagues.


harvard admissions

Should all of a young person's online history be open for scrutiny by admissions officers? How should admissions officers acknowledge that students are in the process of development?

Sealing Off Central High: Social Media Policy in Schools

A group of teachers and administrators grapple with how to discipline a student who posted a nasty meme on a classmates social media feed. Should sharing a violent meme be treated differently than other violent speech?


Holding the Trump Card

Teachers wrestle with how to teach the controversial issues and topics raised during the 2016 election.

Student Walkouts

This case explores the dilemmas that emerge when students in Portland, Oregon walk out of school to protest the election of Donald Trump.


Open Classroom

Should teachers allow a religious student to pursue a citizenship project that argues against gay marriage?

Philosophy-Based Ethics in Australia

In 2011, government schools in New South Wales, Australia began offering philosophy based ethics courses as an alternative to courses in religious education. This case probes the ensuing debate and surveys the diversity of ethical claims made by supporters and detractors of both options.

Politics, Partisanship, and Pedagogy

While planning for their Power of Persuasion project, the Northern High 10th Grade social studies team debates what topics are appropriately controversial for school and what topics endanger safe and inclusive classroom spaces.

Assessing Student Performance

Teachers debate whether or not to promote an eighth grader who has made great strides academically in the face of numerous personal struggles, but who is also failing multiple courses and reading well below grade-level.

Punishing Choices

A teacher grapples with when corporal punishment crosses the line into child abuse and whether or not reporting her suspicions is the right decision in either case.

Standardized Testing

A school principal is asked to respond to growing numbers of parents opting their children out of state tests. How should she balance these parents’ concerns with other parent viewpoints supporting assessment, her own professional obligations, as well as with district and state accountability pressures?

Grade Inflation and Teaching: The Private School Market Place

How should a school maintain professional integrity with respect to their grading policy against, while balancing commitments to student learning, student success in college admissions, and school success in the private school marketplace?


Straying from the Flock: Sex Education and Parental Rights

After a student approaches her with a sexual health question, a health educator must decide whether or not to answer the student's question against the wishes of her parents.

Student Transgressions: Gender Identity and Student Support

A student in a conservative school district appears to be experimenting with their gender identity. Can the needs of the child be balanced against prevailing community norms? Should they?

Urban Schools

In designing a new school assignment plan, is it ethical to pander to middle class families’ preferences so as to draw them, and their social and economic capital, into the public system?


Classroom Management and Discipline

How should a teacher balance the needs of a disruptive student against the needs of the other 26 students in the class? This is a micro-normative case study.


Underqualified and Overwhelmed

For months, college students who run an after-school program have struggled to manage the challenging behaviors of a child with disabilities. As volunteers with no special education credentials and little training, can and should they continue to work with this student?

Walling Off or Welcoming In: Balancing Inclusivity and Free Speech

The School Culture Committee at a K-8 school in Jersey City struggles with the impact of divisive political rhetoric on their classroom and school community.

Picking battles

This case presents an opportunity for educators and administrators to open up dialogue on the matter of guns in school, with emphasis on the question of arming teachers. 


Seeing Green Case Graphic

This case explores the challenges of teaching about climate change in a community where a large portion of the residents work in the petroleum industry. How far should educators accomodate local cocerns when teaching science?

School Choice

This case explores the dilemma many well-resourced parents face in choosing a school for their child. Should they opt for their local public school, investing their resources into the public school system? Or do they use their resources to send their child to whatever school they think will benefit them the most?