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Fighting Suspensions: 3 Questions To Ask

Your child, a high school student, was given an out-of-school suspension following a behavior issue in class. The teacher was fed up with your child “disrupting” by talking back and questioning authority and recommended a suspension as the solution.

However, you don’t believe your child violated any school policies. What it appears to be is a teacher’s lack of experience in managing students and addressing behavior. Instead of putting in time and effort to help your child succeed in a class setting, it seems the teacher and administration took the easy way out and removed your child from school for a few days.

Out-of-school suspensions are common for students who exhibit “behavior issues” or get involved in a physical altercation. But are they really effective at addressing the problem, or do they hinder your child’s interest in school and academic success? Suspensions can negatively impact your child’s academic record and damage his or her future.

Many schools even have a policy that they do not allow students to make up work missed during a suspension. If you feel the school did not address your child’s needs appropriately and instead further harmed his or her ability to succeed, it would be wise to consult with a lawyer who knows about education law who can help you appeal the decision.

You have a right to appeal the suspension

Immediately following the news of the suspension, ask yourself these three questions to find out if the suspension may have violated your child’s rights to an education and was not called for:

  1. Are teachers overworked and underpaid, leading to high teacher turnover? High teacher turnover leads to many inexperienced teachers who are not well-equipped to handle behavior issues within the class, so they resort to suspensions as the solution instead of dealing with the issue head-on. Additionally, high turnover in administration leads to administrators unsure if they can enforce discipline within school or if options other than suspension will actually get students to change their behavior.
  2. Did your child clearly violate school policies or laws, or does it seem the school did not explore other options to address the behavior or incident while keeping your child in school?
  3. Do you feel the school properly addressed your child’s behavior and effectively disciplined to avoid future incidents, or did they make the problem worse? In other words, was there a misunderstanding about your child’s behavior that could have been addressed without a suspension, but the school did not take the time to fully understand the issue?

Asking yourself these three questions can help bring clarity to decide whether the school acted in your child’s best interests, or whether the school leaders violated his or her right to a proper education. You know your child best, and every child in Florida has the right to be in school and receive an education under most circumstances. A lawyer well-versed in education law can help you fight a suspension if you feel the school went too far in disciplining your child.

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