Being expelled from school is an unnerving experience for the juvenile as well as the parents. Unfortunately, school expulsions can present a broad range of different types of consequences and implications for the student for many years to come. Having an experienced Florida criminal defense attorney to step in as soon as possible after a school expulsion is critical for protecting the rights of the accused and minimizing the possible impact on his or her future.
What To Do If Your Child Is Facing Expulsion
If your child has already been suspended with the possibility of expulsion from the school, it is critical to be aware of the rights available to you and the steps that the schools have to use in order to demand such an expulsion. Public school is not considered a privilege throughout the state of Florida, this means that it is instead classified as a right. For that reason, your student may be protected by due process of existing laws before the right of attending school can be blocked.
However, schools are often reacting quickly to allegations of violence or misbehavior that violate school rules. This means that it is important that you respond as soon as possible to protect your child’s right to attend school. If your son or daughter has already been named related to a problem in school, it causes the administration to consider expulsion or suspension. You need to contact an experienced Florida criminal defense attorney right away. The disciplinary process within the school moves very quickly, with deadlines imposed by the law that the school must follow.
The first step in protecting your child’s right to attend school and minimizing the possible fallout after an expulsion has already been stipulated, is to contact a criminal defense attorney with extensive experience providing counsel to students and their families. The first thing to do is to identify what your child has been accused of so that you can begin to gather evidence that shows that he or she shouldn’t be expelled.
These situations are serious and therefore require a serious response. You should never, as a parent, try to handle these issues on your own. If the school has made mistakes, you deserve to have a lawyer on your side to help protect your child’s interests from the outset of the case.
Expulsion Offenses and School Suspension
Every county school board throughout the state of Florida has a responsibility to create a disciplinary response format that lays out varying levels of offenses including those that may lead to an ultimate school expulsion. These are written clearly in the student code of conduct. May students receive a copy of the student code of conduct at the beginning of the school year and this information is also usually listed online with the school board.
If your child has already been accused of an offense that could lead to suspension or expulsion, it is strongly recommended that you review this material carefully and identify the exact alleged offense that your child is been accused of. Reading into the details of the alleged offense can make a big difference in the outcome of the case.
First Level Offense
Typically, there are four levels of offenses within the school system that have varying levels of consequences associated with them. A first level offense for example is considered a minor act of misconduct like foul language, non-compliance with the dress code, disruption of the classroom or cheating. Usually, these offenses will not leas to a sentence of expulsion, especially on a first offense. Other disciplinary responses, however, may be used by the school like counseling, reprimands, detentions, Saturday school, loss of privileges or behavior contracts.
In the vast majority of cases, a first level offense will not lead a student to being expelled from school, and therefore he or she does not maintain due process rights. These first categories of offenses usually do not mandate the insight of an attorney as it can be dealt with in a minor fashion when the parents gets involved, it can be dealt with in a professional fashion when the parent contacts the school directly. Multiple minor offenses, however, can stack up to a more serious consequences including expulsion after several of these have occurred.
Second Level Offense
Second level offenses are more severe than a first level offense, however, they typically do not get elevated to the level of a possible expulsion. Second level offenses across the state of Florida usually include bullying, forgery, gambling, some physical confrontations, petty theft and forgery. Disciplinary responses such as suspension, Saturday school, special work assignments, detention or intervention programs are typically used to address second level offenses. These will typically not expose a child to an expulsion process, but repeated first and second level offenses can elevate the stakes.
Third Level Offense
Third level offenses are considered very serious and require the school to respond with tight disciplinary measures. Repeat offenses could lead to a recommendation for being expelled generated by the administration. Third level offenses can include severe bullying, vandalism, having tobacco products, battery, breaking & entering, fighting or gang activities. It is possible that a student who is accused of a third level offense may be facing expulsion right away or expulsion could be presented as an option after several different multiple level offenses.
Fourth Level Offense
The most severe offenses are defined as fourth level offenses. These are considered major acts of misconduct that could lead to the student being immediately removed from school via expulsion. These typically include selling or buying drugs, robbery, severe bullying, threats made to teachers, use of alcohol or possession of alcohol, arson, bomb threats, firearm possession, or sexual harassment. Immediate suspension is typically recommended with these fourth level offenses and typically the administration will also make a recommendation for an expulsion.
If your child has already been accused of any of these serious offenses that may escalate to expulsion, it is crucial to understand the process that will be used by the school system.
This typically begins with an initial investigation into the accusation carried out by an administrator or a dean. If there is any chance that the offense could lead to criminal prosecution, a school’s resource officer may also be used in the investigation process. The person completing the interview should make an effort to get written details from all possible witnesses, and if an investigation shows it did not happen, the matter will be dismissed.
If the investigation, however, seems to reveal that a student indeed committed the offense and he or she will likely be suspended for 10 days with further consideration for being expelled. The student will be notified of the consideration for expulsion when it is an option on the table and given an opportunity to share his or her story. This is why it is important to have an experienced academic attorney to recommend the best course of action. After the offenses have been discussed directly with the student, the school must determine if the student is guilty of the misconduct and how the school will respond.
Severe level four offenses almost always lead to an immediate 10-day suspension with recommendation for an expulsion, then the case moves into the expulsion process which usually includes three different hearings. The first is a team meeting for discipline that is held at the end of the 10-day suspension to verify whether or not there is evidence of a student disability that requires additional education services.
Furthermore, the area administrator has to evaluate whether or not the offense that was committed meets the grounds for expulsion criteria, and then the superintendent will review this at an administrative hearing. At all of this distinct basis of the case, it is beneficial to have an insight of an experienced attorney. If an area administrator for example sends the recommendation for an expulsion to the area superintendent, the student will then need to be prepared to appear in front of the county’s school board for a final expulsion determination.
Only a school board can make a final call about expulsion of a student. Anyone involved may be able to make a presentation at the conclusion of a case like this, including any parent, student, or lawyer.
Contact An Experienced School Expulsion Attorney
This can be a difficult and confusing experience for the accused child as well as his or her parents and should be taken seriously by retaining a lawyer who has experience representing clients in school expulsion and academic hearings. An Orlando school expulsion attorney may have a significant impact on the outcome of the case and could end up protecting the child’s rights and future. A person in this situation needs the support of a lawyer who has helped numerous others avoid these serious consequences. Contact Frost Law today at (407) 670-5569 for a Free Consultation and case review.