Know your rights: What communities need to know about school discipline procedures

On July 11th, League of Education Voters hosted a webinar in partnership with TeamChild on the rights of parents and students experiencing disciplinary actions in the public school system.

TeamChild is a civil-legal advocacy group that helps get students the services and help they need to continue their education. Their website is chalked full of resources for parents and students and worth checking out if you are experiencing issues around discipline.

Over the past twenty years, suspension in schools has become commonplace and many parents and students never receive access to basic information about appeals, re-entry, and educational services while out of school. TeamChild helped outline families’ basic rights:

  • In the case of a short-term suspension, schools must provide oral or written notice and opportunity for informal conference. Written notices must be provided in the language most commonly spoken in the student’s home.
  • In the case of a long-term suspension, emergency expulsion and/or expulsion, schools must provide written notice of the discipline to be imposed to the student and parent/guardian. The notice must be delivered in person or by certified mail to the student and the parent/guardian.

The timeline is mapped out here:

Lastly, a few key tips for any correspondence with your student’s school administrator or teacher:

  • Act quickly – timelines are short and stakes are high.
  • Notices may be confusing, delayed or missing.
  • Schools may discourage pursuing a discipline hearing.
  • Districts might not be able to reach off-campus conduct.
  • Nature and circumstances must warrant punishment.
  • Try other forms of corrective action first.

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