A school has a wide range of disciplinary options that it can exercise depending on the severity of the student's bad behavior. Some of the most common forms of student discipline are:

  • Detention
  • Suspension
  • Expulsion
  • Transfer

What Is Detention?

Detention occurs when a student is made to remain after school for disciplinary reasons. The rules governing detention vary according to school district, but most districts have certain restrictions on how severe detention can be. These restrictions may include:

  • Students must be allowed to take bathroom breaks
  • Students must be under the supervision of a certified employee during detention
  • A limit on how long detention can be
  • Some districts require that students be given the option of serving detention on a weekend instead of a school day
  • Parents must be notified that their child will be in detention

What Is Suspension?

Suspension is a form of student discipline in which the student loses some of his rights and privileges for a specified period of time. This usually means that the student is denied his right to attend classes and participate in school related activities for a certain period of time. The rules governing suspension vary according to school district, but there are some basic rights and requirements that are common to all suspension laws:

  • There is usually a limit on how long a student can be suspended. If the suspension exceeds that limit, it may be considered an expulsion instead.
  • Many schools require that the student's parents meet with school employees to discuss the suspension.
  • Unless the suspension is made in an emergency situation in which the student poses an immediate danger to staff or other students, the student has a right to an informal meeting during which he can present evidence in his defense.

What Is Expulsion?

Expulsion is a form of student discipline in which the student is deprived of his rights for a specified or an indefinite amount of time. Just like detention and suspension, the rules of expulsion depend on the school district. Some of the common rules for expulsion are:

  • There must be a good reason for the expulsion
  • The student has the right to a hearing, during which the principal of the school decides on the proper disciplinary action and sends his decision to the district superintendent
  • The student has the right to appeal the decision

What Is a Transfer?

Sometimes, a student who is suspended or expelled may be eligible to transfer to another school. The student may be transferred to a different regular school, or he may have to be transferred to an alternative education program.

Should I Contact a Lawyer?

If you believe that you or your child has been improperly disciplined, you may want to consult with a government attorney. A lawyer will be able to tell you more about your school district's rules, and can guide you through an administrative hearing or lawsuit if necessary.