School Discipline

 School Discipline

1. What do I do if my child has been suspended?

Find out the details of the suspension, including how many days your child is suspended. Ask the school for the suspension write-up if you do not have it yet. This should include a description of the incident and which school rule(s) your child is accused of violating. Talk to your child about the incident and get their version of the story.

 

Next ask the school if your child can serve their suspension in-school instead of out of school. If the school is requiring your child to serve the suspension out of school, ask if your child can attend an alternative-to-suspension program.

If your school district has a short-term alternative-to-suspension program/site, have your child attend that program during the suspension so they do not fall behind. School staff will be present at this program to supervise your child while your child does his school work. If that is not available, request your child’s schoolwork so that he or she can complete it during the suspension.

2. Tips for Advocating for My Child when s/he has been disciplined at school

a) Keep all papers you receive from the school district about the suspension. Having all of the written paperwork concerning the incident is your first step towards holding the school district accountable for how it characterizes your child’s behavior, and for knowing your child’s rights in the process.

b) Put your communication to the school in writing. This is especially important if you are requesting information or action by the school district. Keep a copy of the letter, email, or note for your own records. This way, you have documentation of your requests and the responses you have received.

c) Review the school district’s Code of Student Conduct. This will lay out the specific school rules and the policies for school discipline.

3. What is a short-term suspension? What are my child's rights related to a short-term suspension?

A short-term suspension is a suspension for 10 school days or less. When a child receives a short-term suspension, the child has a right to:

  • Receive an explanation from the school about the rule the student broke and a description of the incident
  • Tell his/her side of the story to a school administrator; and
  • Take textbooks home, get missed assignments, and make up exams.

There is no right to appeal a short-term suspension, meaning you cannot request a review of the short-term suspension if you disagree with it.

4. What do I do if my child receives a short-term suspension?

There is no way to appeal your child’s short-term suspension. The following tips, however, will help ensure that the school system is following their procedures appropriately, and that future suspensions are avoided:

  • Take advantage of any short-term suspension program that may be offered by the school system so your child does not fall behind
  • Read the Code of Student Conduct for the school system, and look up the rule your child broke and the procedures for short-term suspension
  • Request a meeting with your child’s teachers and/or school staff to discuss your child’s progress and brainstorm ways to avoid future suspensions.

5. My child attends CMS and has received a 10-day suspension. I have been told that there is going to be a Discipline Team Meeting (DTM). What is that?

A Discipline Team Meeting (DTM) is typically held by the school system when a child is facing consequences in addition to the 10 day suspension. Additional consequences can be school-based probation, reassignment to the alternative school, or a long-term suspension. The purpose of the DTM is to review the school’s investigation of the incident and the principal’s recommended consequences. It is very important for you to attend this meeting and to present information about your child and his/her needs. This is a chance to give additional information that may explain why an incident occurred (such as bullying at school, outside stressors, academic difficulty, or mental health diagnoses).

 

The DTM is to be held within 10 school days of the first day of the current suspension. The following people should participate in the meeting: a school administrator, a Learning Community administrator, the parent/guardian, and the child. There is no right for your child to have an attorney or advocate represent them at this meeting.

Following the meeting, you will be informed of the Learning Community Superintendent’s decision about whether further consequences will be imposed.

6. My child attends CMS and has been reassigned to Turning Point Academy. What can I do?

You can contact the Alternative Education/Safe Schools Department of the Board of Education and request an appeal of the school reassignment. There is a form at the back of the CMS Code of Student Conduct that can be used to request an appeal. At the Board of Education hearing, your child does not have a right to be represented by an attorney. While going through the appeals process, your child must attend Turning Point Academy.

The CMS Code of Student Conduct can be found here

7. What is a long-term suspension?

A long-term suspension is a suspension lasting more than 10 school days. Please see Question #9 which will explain your child’s rights if long-term suspended.

8. What is an explusion?

An expulsion means indefinite removal from the school system. Please see Question #9 which will explain your child’s rights if recommended for explusion.

9. What are my child's rights if s/he is being recommended for a long-term suspension or expulsion?

Long-term suspensions or expulsions are the most serious consequences the school system can impose on children. If your child is recommended for a long-term suspension or expulsion, it is very important to know your child’s rights.

These include rights to:

  • Receive written notice of the incident, which includes:
    • A description of the incident
    • The specific rule the child is charged with violating
    • The specific process to request a hearing to challenge the suspension or expulsion
    • A description of the format of the hearing
    • Notice that the parent/guardian is permitted to have an attorney represent the child in the hearing process; and
    • Notice that the parent/guardian has the right to review and obtain copies of the child’s educational records before the hearing.
  • Take textbooks home, get homework, and make up tests during the first 10 days of the suspension and during the appeals process
  • Have a due process hearing, where the child will be able to bring an attorney; present evidence; bring witnesses to testify on his/her behalf; question the witnesses, evidence, or statements used against him/her by the school system; and make a recording of the hearing
  • Receive a written hearing decision, with the reason for the decision and notice of the child’s right to appeal the decision to the local board of education
  • Appeal the local board of education’s decision to the local superior court

 

Bullying

1. What is bullying?

Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school-aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. A child who is being bullied has a hard time defending himself or herself. Usually, bullying is repeated over time. Bullying can take many forms, such as hitting or punching (physical bullying); teasing or name-calling (verbal bullying); intimidation using gestures or social exclusion (nonverbal bullying or emotional bullying); and sending insulting messages by phone, email, or social media (cyberbullying).

2. What obligations does my child's school have towards bullying?

All school districts are required to develop specific policies that address bullying, including:

  • No student or school employee shall be subjected to bullying or harassing behavior by school employees or students.
  • No person shall engage in any retaliation against a victim, witness, or a person with information about an act of bullying or harassing behavior.
  • A school employee who has witnessed bullying shall report the incident to the appropriate school official.
  • A student who has witnessed or has reliable information that a student or school employee has been subjected bullying behavior should report the incident to the appropriate school official.

Make sure to consult your school district’s Code of Student Conduct for more information concerning your school district’s specific policies about bullying.

3. What should I do if my child is being bullied?

Look in your local school district’s Code of Student Conduct to see if there is a form that parents can complete to report bullying. Fill out the bullying form as completely as possible for each and every episode of bullying. Be sure to give specifics, including dates, times, names, etc. Keep a copy of the complete forms for your files.

Follow up with your child’s principal after you submit the Bullying Forms. Schedule a meeting to discuss the school’s action/investigation into the bullying incidents reported and to develop a plan to keep your child safe.

 

 

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