Children are known for being impulsive and not making the best choices sometimes. That is why rules are put in place at educational institutions. Students across the country are experiencing a different type of upcoming school year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Many schools are choosing a remote option or a hybrid of in-person and online learning for the fall. However, when a child does something inappropriate on school grounds or during school hours, it can lead to disciplinary action. This can range from a stern lecture to a suspension or even expulsion from school. However, as a parent, you have legal options to make sure your child’s rights are protected. An experienced education law attorney can represent your child’s best interests.
Illinois School Disciplinary Process
Illinois teachers and other licensed school professionals who provide student-related services are responsible for maintaining discipline in schools according to established policy guidelines. In accordance with state and federal law, Illinois school boards must establish policy guidelines on the administration of student discipline with the assistance of a parent-teacher advisory committee. A copy of these guidelines must be given to the parents or guardians of every student within the first 15 days of the start of the school year or 15 days after a new student transfers to the school.
School districts are given some discretion in what actions constitute suspending or expelling students. What many parents might not know is that students who are facing this type of discipline have a right to a hearing with the school board along with legal representation. If the school board determines a suspension or expulsion is necessary, you may go to court to prevent these types of disciplinary actions.
Suspension and Expulsion
In Illinois, a suspension is the removal of a student from school for 10 days or less. When a student is expelled, he or she is removed from school for more than 10 consecutive days. Some examples of the actions that constitute a suspension include:
- Possession of cigarettes
- Damage to school property
- Drug possession
- Disobeying school staff
An expulsion can be the result of the following type of misconduct:
- Bringing a gun, knife, or any weapon to school
- Attempting to cause bodily harm to another
- Drug use, possession, or trafficking
- Bomb threats
- Sex crimes
Right to a Hearing
Schools must provide parents with the reasons (in writing) why their child is suspended or expelled. Before an expulsion can take effect, the school must grant you and your child a hearing if you so choose. A written notice of the hearing must be sent by certified or registered mail with the time, place, and reason for the hearing. During the hearing, the school must give the actions that led to the expulsion. You have the right to have an attorney present, who can help you provide evidence and witnesses on your behalf, as well as cross-examine the school’s witnesses. In certain cases, your child may have been wrongfully accused based on false evidence. Another student may have committed the infraction and made it look like it was your child’s fault.
If the expulsion still stands after the hearing, you may appeal the decision in a court of law. The court will review several factors, such as the student’s history, the degree of misconduct, and the punishment while keeping the student’s best interests in mind regarding alternative school options or rehabilitation programs.
Contact a Wheaton Education Law Attorney
Many children make mistakes while they are growing up, including when they are in school. However, in some cases, they may be falsely accused of breaking the rules. Being wrongfully suspended can affect them emotionally and lead to future problems. The distinguished legal team at Anderson Attorneys & Advisors understands how school disciplinary action for your child can affect his or her future opportunities. We are prepared to help you build a strong defense on your child’s behalf so he or she can continue his or her education. To learn more, speak with our diligent DuPage County school law attorneys as soon as possible. Call our office today at 630-877-5800 to schedule a free consultation.