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What state law has to say about suspensions and expulsions -- II

In our last post, we began discussing how knowledge is power for both students and parents alike when it comes to the possibility of suspension given the gravity of the stakes, and the unfortunate reality that applicable rules and regulations are not always followed by school officials.

To that end, we began taking a closer look at what the law here in Florida has to say about suspensions, including when they can be initiated, how long they can last and how parents must be notified. We'll continue these efforts in today's post.

Is parental involvement limited to just receiving a phone call and a letter?

The law dictates that either the principal or their designee must make a good faith effort to get parents involved or employ alternative measures before the suspension starts.

It's important to note that no such good faith effort is required where there are "emergency or disruptive" conditions necessitating immediate suspension, or a serious breach of conduct as set forth in the rules promulgated by the district school board.

These rules must mandate, however, that any accused student is provided with oral and written notice of the charges, as well as an explanation of any inculpatory evidence gathered before the suspension can begin.       

Are students provided with any chance to explain what happened?

The law expressly declares that any student facing suspension must be afforded the opportunity to present their side of the story.

Can a student be suspended for attendance issues?

Suspension cannot be used as a punishment for "unexcused tardiness, lateness, absence, or truancy" under state law.

Do the suspension powers of the principal or their designee extend beyond the school?  

The principal or their designee is vested with the authority to suspend students from riding the school bus for violations of district school board transportation policies, which must cover conduct both on the school bus and at school bus stops.

Much like with school suspensions, the principal or their designee must provide written notice to the affected student’s parent(s) and to the district school superintendent within 24 hours.

Here's hoping the foregoing information has proven helpful. We'll continue this important discussion in a future post, exploring expulsion.

If your child has been threatened with suspension or expulsion, and you would like to learn more about your rights and your options, consider speaking with a skilled legal professional as soon as possible.

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