My Child Is Being Expelled. What Do I Do?
One of a parent’s worst nightmares has to be their child being expelled from school or even just threatened with expulsion. In this day and age, schools are getting tough with discipline, and codes of conduct are far less forgiving than they used to be. However, your child does have certain rights, including the right to contest the expulsion. Having an experienced attorney present at the hearing can help you reach a negotiated outcome that affects your child’s future as little as possible.
Many Grounds for Expulsion
Depending on your school’s code of conduct, there are many different actions that can lead to a sentence of expulsion. Examples include sexual assault or misconduct, cheating or plagiarism, bullying, and possession of alcohol or drugs, though there are many others, depending on the school. Many students do not realize that the code of conduct for their school has the strength of a binding contract - in other words, both sides of the equation must uphold the rules in the code, and if this does not happen, the contract can be severed.
Even though offenses serious enough to warrant an expulsion are very severe, your child does still have rights. One of those is the right to have an attorney lay out the arguments to keep them in school, and to delay an expulsion hearing for up to 10 days in order to find representation. They also do have the right to an alternative education plan in the event of an expulsion, even if that expulsion is permanent. Nonetheless, remaining in school is obviously the preferable option, and being able to make your case persuasively is critical in achieving that goal.
At the Hearing
Expulsion hearings are conducted by the school board, and at least three members of the board must be present in order to have a quorum (the minimum amount of people required to act). Your child will be able to present their case to remain in school, or have their attorney do so, as well as answer questions from the board about the incident or incidents that prompted the expulsion threat. If at least three votes for expulsion are cast, your child will be expelled, though it is possible to be expelled for a specific term and not permanently.
The relevant portion of the law states that the conduct in question has to have been “seriously disruptive of the educational process,” as well as either violating a policy outlined in the school code and/or endangering people in the process. While “seriously disruptive” is subjective, violating policy and endangering others is not. It is within the school board’s power to waive or vacate a sentence of expulsion, but this is usually only on the table for students who have never been in trouble before. Either way, the decision is entirely within the discretion of the school board, and cannot be appealed.
Contact a Stamford Juvenile Defense Attorney
Your child’s future can be materially altered - and not for the better - if they are expelled from school, but very often, schools will rush their investigations, simply wanting to clear up a problem rather than finding justice. You need a dedicated Stamford juvenile defense attorney who understands these issues - the Law Offices of Daniel P. Weiner has been handling these matters for years, and we are ready and willing to try and assist you with yours. Contact our Fairfield County office today for a free consultation.