Working with an Academic Appeals
Attorney to Protect Your Student’s Rights

School disciplinary procedures vary by school and state. But generally, suspension and expulsion are the most common forms of school discipline. A suspension leaves a student losing some of their educational rights and privileges for a certain amount of time. When suspended, they are not allowed to attend classes and take part in school activities. The suspension can go on for up to a week. Common grounds for suspension include battery or assault, as well as possession of weapons, controlled substances, and alcohol.

Meanwhile, expulsion leaves a student being permanently eliminated from the school setting for committing a serious violation of rules or policies of the school. However, the majority of schools allow students to appeal an academic suspension or expulsion. This is where a school should work with an academic appeals attorney to ensure their rights are protected.

Appealing a Suspension or Expulsion

Long-term suspensions or expulsions can be appealed with the help of an experienced attorney. The appeal should be made as soon as possible since there is usually a limit on when it can be filed. For short-term suspensions or detentions, a parent can request a grievance conference if they feel their student has been disciplined unfairly.  But this is only meant for mild disciplinary actions under the laws that govern student discipline.

The Rights of a Student at an Appeal Hearing

Student discipline becomes a serious issue if the discipline violates the rights of the student being disciplined, particularly their rights to due process. Students have the right to education. Every time they are deprived of such rights through suspension or expulsion, they are entitled to due process.  A student’s right to due process includes the right to fair hearings and notice.

Long-term suspensions and expulsions should be assessed in a formal hearing. At the hearing the student in question should be made aware of their rights such as to know the rules they allegedly violated, bring evidence and legal counsel, and protect their privacy.

Since the rules on appeals vary by state, it is important to understand one’s district laws. Some of the rights parents have included the right to represent their child, bring a witness, request an interpreter, examine the evidence the school presented, and others.

If you want to appeal a decision by a school administration regarding student discipline, speak with an attorney as soon as possible. The rights of a student must be protected and that all procedures are followed.