Pennsylvania Student Discipline Attorneys
All schools in Pennsylvania create a code of conduct for students. School districts and charter schools must publish these documents so students, staff, and parents are aware of the rules and consequences of violating those rules. Oftentimes, the code of conduct is posted on the district website. Of course, there are many situations in which students violate the rules that are outlined in the code of conduct and must be disciplined accordingly. But, perhaps your child did not do what he was accused of doing. Or perhaps the district’s punishment is too severe. Perhaps the District is wrongfully punishing your child for exercising his or her rights. If you believe that your child has been disciplined in a way that violated his or her rights, it is important to seek legal counsel. The legal team at Anderson, Converse, & Fennick, P.C. has decades of experience fighting for the rights of students who have been wrongfully disciplined at school. Contact our firm today to discuss your situation.
When a School is Disciplining Your Child
If a school wants to suspend or expel your child, the district has to send you notice of the violation and discipline. Make sure you do the following:
- Be sure to carefully read all the notices you receive. Make yourself aware of any hearings or meetings that have been scheduled in regards to your child’s punishment.
- Of course, talk with your child to get his or her side of the story.
- If the school is proposing significant discipline, speak with a lawyer before signing any agreements.
- Be sure to create a paper trail of all communications between yourself and school officials.
- We do not recommend that your child give a statement to school officials without talking to us first. Some children can be convinced to admit to something they did not do.
Types of Discipline for Students in PA
The state of Pennsylvania has outlined a number of different forms of discipline for students who violate the code of conduct. Regardless of the punishment that the child is subject to, school officials have to inform them why they are receiving such punishment. Often, school officials will conduct an informal hearing, which allows them to explain the situation that occurred resulting in the student’s suspension. The primary goal is to assess ways that the parent/guardian and school officials can work together with the student in an effort to avoid this event from happening again. Parents are not required to attend the informal hearing but it is beneficial if they do. Some of the potential disciplinary actions that may be taken against a student include the following:
- In-school suspension: This form of suspension takes place in the school, where the student will still have to attend every day and continue their education but in a separate room from their regular classes while under supervision. If the student has ISS for more than 10 consecutive school days, the school must offer the student an informal hearing.
- Out of school suspension: This form of suspension requires the child to remain out of school for no more than 10 days. Additionally, the student’s parent(s) must be notified in writing about the suspension.
- Expulsion: A removal of your child from school for more than ten school days is an expulsion. If the school is trying to expel your child, you have a right to a hearing before the school board. We recommend that you speak to a lawyer before you agree to an expulsion, and we recommend that you bring a lawyer to the expulsion hearing.
If your child is subject to an expulsion hearing, you may find that the administrators are very sympathetic to your child. Your child may get more attention that week than he or she has ever received. However, keep this in mind: the administrator who is proposing to expel your child is not your friend. That person’s job is to get you to agree to waive your child’s rights and agree to an expulsion. Perhaps an expulsion is justified. But perhaps it is not. Perhaps your child is innocent, or perhaps the period of expulsion is unreasonably long. Perhaps your child is a special education student who should not be expelled. Your child has specific legal rights before and during the expulsion hearing. If you do not assert those rights, you are giving them up. You should have the assistance of an experienced education attorney in any situation where expulsion is a possibility.
Contact a York County Education Attorney
If your child has been accused of violating their school’s code of conduct, it is important to be aware of your child’s rights. You need experienced legal counsel. The legal team at Anderson, Converse, & Fennick, P.C. has decades of experience representing students as they navigate school discipline. Contact our firm today for quality legal representation.