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October 5 is World Teachers' Day, and we're celebrating our favorite educators by taking a look at the rights of teachers in public schools.

From discrimination and academic freedom to union membership and collective bargaining, teachers occupy a unique place, both professionally and legally.

Speaking Up for Special Needs: Autism Discrimination in Public Schools

Autism spectrum disorder is a developmental disability that impacts one in 68 children born in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Kids who suffer from ASD have difficulties with emotional expression, communication, and appropriate behavior, making them difficult to manage.

But autistic children are entitled to attend public school and receive an appropriate education, and there are legal protections in place to ensure this. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) guarantees free education to children with disabilities in the least restrictive environment possible, so schools must accommodate an autistic child in order to receive federal funding.

Try as we might, even the most attentive students can miss an important point during a class or lecture. Or you might be a parent worried about what a teacher is saying or doing in your child's classroom. Now that digital recorders are fairly small and inexpensive, and every cell phone has a sound recording option, it would seem this problem is easily fixed by just recording the teacher or professor, and then replaying it later.

As it turns out, however, many states have laws prohibiting recording someone without their consent. Does this extend to teachers and classrooms?

Last year, the Obama administration highlighted the disparate rates at which white students and students of color were disciplined, and called on schools to reduce the racial disparity in school discipline. But some teachers and administrators were unhappy that schools themselves could face discipline if they failed to close the racial disciplinary gap.

So should schools take race into account when they discipline students? Could the disparity in discipline show that they already are? And what could happen to schools if they don't?

It's back-to-school time and that means back to the teachers we love. On the whole, teachers are hard-working, gracious, patient, and inspiring leaders doing double the work for half the pay and mentoring whole generations of students.

Every now and then, though, you run into a bad apple. And while these nightmare teachers may not spoil the whole bunch, they can spoil your day or year.

Perhaps the biggest arena in the vaccination debate has been schools, and whether they're allowed to require children to be vaccinated before attending. The argument over vaccines may seem new, but the Supreme Court, all the way back in 1905, ruled that states and school districts can make vaccination compulsory for school attendance.

With the first day of school around the corner, here's what parents need to know about the vaccine rule, any exceptions, and potential liability for not vaccinating their children.

Kids may not be excited about going to back to school and parents may not be too thrilled about the legal issues they might face with school starting.

But if you're proactive in addressing some potential educational and safety concerns, it could be smoother sailing into the school year for everyone.

It might be the scariest part about getting in trouble in high school: it could end up on your permanent record, and keep you from going to college. No one wants to jeopardize their future with some juvenile shenanigans.

But with employers relaxing their standards when it comes to hiring ex-cons, could colleges follow suit and leave questions about criminal convictions off their applications? One premiere university might be leading the way.

School's! Out! For! Summer! This means days at the beach or the mall with friends. This means no more reading, memorizing, or studying. But, wait! What about summer school?

Most states have truancy laws that make school attendance mandatory, except for excused absences, during the school year. Failure to attend school for a certain amount of days can result in criminal charges and punishment for both parents and students.

Do these truancy laws also apply to summer school?

As a kid, finding Oreos in my school lunch always made my day. These days, however, packing Oreos into your child's lunch might get you a stern reprimand from the school.

That's what happened to an Aurora, Colorado mom who says teachers confiscated her daughter's Oreos, and sent her home with a note, saying, "This is a public school setting and all children are required to have a fruit, a vegetable and a heavy snack from home, along with a milk." While mandating a "heavy snack" seems to run counter to healthy eating, are school officials really allowed to regulate what parents give their kids for lunch?