States have different laws regulating discipline in their schools. However, there are various principles that are common to all states. For example, a teacher may never hit a student. Also, students' constitutional rights may not be taken away or altered. This includes the following:
- A student has the right to be notified of school rules ahead of time. This is commonly accomplished by distribution of student handbooks.
- A student has the right to meaningful notice of any charges against him or her.
- A student has the right to be heard under proper circumstances. It may be wise to have a lawyer present to protect the student's rights.
What Can a Student be Suspended or Expelled for?
A school district may not simply suspend or expel a student for an arbitrary reason. Rather, there are specific categories or behaviors that allow schools to resort to these measures. Common examples include:
- Assault or threat of assault to teachers or other students
- Continuous disruptive conduct
- Possession of drugs, alcohol or weapons
- Stealing or damaging school property or property of others
- Sexual offenses or obscenities
Can I Appeal My Child's Suspension or Expulsion?
In most school districts, you are permitted to appeal these decisions. Talk to an attorney or a member of the school board to determine your right to appeal.
Should I Talk to a Lawyer about My Child's Suspension or Expulsion?
The laws regulating discipline in schools vary from state to state. An education law attorney can help you protect your rights and the rights of your child. It is especially important that you contact an education law attorney if you fear that your child has been the victim of unlawful discipline or accused of criminal conduct.