By Susan Block
Getting a call from a school principal informing you that your child has been suspended from school is a very concerning experience. While the initial suspension is restricted by law to ten days, it may become a much longer one after the school’s superintendent does further investigation. If you disagree with the decision of the superintendent, you have the right to appeal this decision to the school board.
Serious consequences such as a suspension or expulsion for violent or substance abuse offenses become a part of your child’s school record.
It is critical to your child’s best interests to consult with an attorney who has experience in school law matters. This is a unique area of the law that requires analyzing the school’s conduct code to determine if there was a violation of this code and the consequences of such a violation.
Meeting with an attorney at the earliest opportunity will give you and your child the information you need to make decisions about next steps.
This meeting will include an intake interview of the parents and, if appropriate, the child, and reviewing the history of the child’s behavior and academic progress. Your attorney can also obtain any necessary written evidence, such as a student’s statement, statements of witnesses, and a police report, if any.
The attorney will likely be in contact with the school district’s lawyer for further discussion on the options. District counsel can be very helpful in moving forward with the case.
If the child has an Individualized Education Plan (“IEP”) and has been determined to suffer from a learning or emotional disability, a different protocol is then required. The most important component is a Manifestation Review Hearing, during which the Special School District determines whether the behavior at issue is related to the child’s disability. If it is, the suspension is not applicable. However, changing the child’s school placement is an option. This could be a public or private school placement.
Each case is different and each deserves the best legal representation.
The lawyers at Paule Camazine & Blumenthal are equipped to represent you and your child in school law matters. We understand the law and most importantly, care about your child and family’s future. Contact us today.