In New York, parents send their children to school so they can get an education. This education must be appropriate based on their needs and address any potential behavioral concerns or learning disabilities they might have.
However, if something happens while the child is at school and the decision is made to suspend them, parents must be aware of what types of suspensions can be issued, why and what options are available to deal with the problems that caused it. In many instances, they need professional advice to make sure their children are treated fairly and within the boundaries of the law.
What parents should know about school suspensions
Students who are alleged to have committed some form of misconduct in the school can be suspended. Examples of misbehavior include being disruptive, getting into fights, bringing weapons to school, committing vandalism or other transgressions. The school itself will have rules in place. These can vary from school to school and if they are deemed onerous or target-specific students, they can be challenged.
The suspensions can range from up to five school days, which is a short-term suspension, or six or more days – a long-term suspension. The former is referred to as a “principal’s suspension.” The latter is a “superintendent’s suspension.”
The school must tell the parent or guardian about a short-term suspension and allow the possibility of a meeting to talk about what happened and why the suspension was needed. With a long-term suspension, the student and parent or guardian will be notified of a fair hearing. In these cases, it is generally wise to have legal advice as a long-term suspension is typically sparked by a more severe act the student is alleged to have committed. In these cases, witnesses can be called and evidence must be presented.
Parents must protect their children when suspensions are given
Regardless of what a student has done, they have rights. Parents need to be fully cognizant as to what they can do to protect their child. Perhaps the alleged incident was not solely their fault. There could be undiagnosed behavioral issues that were not adequately accounted for. Or the school could have known that the child needed special attention but did not provide it. From the time of the suspension going forward, having experienced help with professionals who specialize in education law can be crucial to help the child.