309 Children and the Law

This course will explore the relationship between the law and children’s status, rights, and well-being from a child-centered perspective. The course will introduce students to some of the foundational legal doctrines which govern the relationships among children, their parents, and the state. Through lecture, class discussion, and group presentations, this course will apply those foundational principles in specific contexts, including at school, home, healthcare, and community settings, with a focus on emerging and current issues in children’s law. This course will grapple with the ways in which current legal frameworks do or do not promote children’s rights and health, with a focus on the experiences of vulnerable groups, including LGBTQ+ children, children living in poverty, children of color, children involved in the child welfare and delinquency systems, and children with disabilities. This class will require collaboration in small groups as students work towards a final presentation.

Course Areas of Practice
Evaluation Methods
  • Group project(s)
  • Oral presentation
Degree Requirements
Course Type
  • Seminar
Learning Outcomes
  • Knowledge and understanding of substantive and procedural law

Fall 2023

2023
Course Number Course Credits Evaluation Method Instructor

309.01 2
  • Group project(s)
Crystal Grant, Peggy Nicholson

This course will explore the relationship between the law and children’s status, rights, and well-being from a child-centered perspective. The course will introduce students to some of the foundational legal doctrines which govern the relationships among children, their parents, and the state. Through lecture, class discussion, and group presentations, this course will apply those foundational principles in specific contexts, including at school, home, healthcare, and community settings, with a focus on emerging and current issues in children’s law. This course will grapple with the ways in which current legal frameworks do or do not promote children’s rights and health, with a focus on the experiences of vulnerable groups, including LGBTQ+ children, children living in poverty, children of color, children involved in the child welfare and delinquency systems, and children with disabilities. This class will require collaboration in small groups as students work towards a final presentation.

Pre/Co-requisites
None

Spring 2018

2018
Course Number Course Credits Evaluation Method Instructor

309.01 2
  • Reflective Writing
  • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 10-15 pages
Doriane Coleman

This seminar is derived from the three-credit Children and the Law course.  Where the latter is a broad survey of the law governing decision making for children and the relationship between parents and the state that arises in that context, this seminar focuses in on the three areas of the law that tend to generate the most cultural and legal controversy: education, religion, and maltreatment.  Students will be required to prepare memoranda throughout the semester on related topics including home schooling, curriculum reform, vaccination law, proxy consents to medical treatment and research, corporal punishment, and the Fourth Amendment’s special needs administrative search exception.  The course can be used to satisfy the upper-level writing requirement.  There are no prerequisites.  However, because the subject matter builds on the foundations of constitutional law, property, and torts, it will be useful to have taken these classes.

Pre/Co-requisites
None

Spring 2016

2016
Course Number Course Credits Evaluation Method Instructor

309.01 2 Doriane Coleman

This seminar is derived from the three-credit Children and the Law Course. Where the latter is a broad survey of the law governing legal decision making for children and the relationship between parents and the state that arises in that context, this seminar focuses on the contest between parents and the state over the development of the child's mind and the ways the law facilitates and challenges that contest. Following an introduction to the concept of the child in U.S. and international law, the course provides deeper examination of the three areas of the law that are most implicated in this respect: education, religion, and maltreatment. Students will be required to submit a two-page reflection paper before each class meeting and to prepare a research paper on a related topic. Individual enrolled students may opt to take the course also for writing credit in which case requirements for the research paper are more detailed.

Taught by Professor Doriane Lambelet Coleman

Pre/Co-requisites
None

*Please note that this information is for planning purposes only, and should not be relied upon for the schedule for a given semester. Faculty leaves and sabbaticals, as well as other curriculum considerations, will sometimes affect when a course may be offered.