Should a school be allowed to search lockers at random? Do students have the right to free speech? Is the school responsible for any bullying my child endures from other students? Sometimes parents and schools don’t agree on who should be held responsible on a gamut of issues. Speak to an attorney at Mattleman, Weinroth & Miller, P.C. to make sure your child’s rights are being protected in and out of the school environment.
Students have rights in schools. For example, they are protected under the first amendment, but if the child is writing in the student newspaper, speaking on the student loudspeaker, or giving a comment at a football game in front of the public on the behalf of the school, the school has a right to know ahead of time what the child is going to say. It has a right to exclude certain things the child wants to say and can discipline the child if he or she does not abide. The child does not have free speech rights to disrupt the school. The code of conduct is an agreement between the school and the student and the school has every right to discipline a child for any disruption in a school hallway.
For certain situations, schools have certain rights that are akin to parental rights. When a child walks into the school building or onto the school property, they lose some of the rights that the child would have on the street. They can question your minor child and even decide to impose discipline before they even notify the parent that the child is in trouble. Law enforcement may not question your child without your presence. As long as the school has reasonable suspicion that the child might be carrying contraband of some sort, such as drugs or weapons, they can and will search your child before even notifying you that there’s an issue.
If a child faces significant discipline like a suspension, he or she has the right to due process. As a parent, you have a right to appeal the decision to the superintendent who will grant you an informal hearing. If you are not satisfied with the results of the superintendent’s decision, you have a right to appeal to the school board. You have a chance to confront witnesses, examine relevant documents, and make your argument to convince the board to overturn the decision of the superintendent. You actually have the right to go further and take them to court. However, the standard in court is very high. You will at that point have to prove that the board’s action was arbitrary and capricious. Meaning that no reasonable board could have decided the way they did.
The rights of students are important to the attorneys at Mattleman, Weinroth & Miller, P.C. We believe that every student is entitled to a superb education, free of discrimination, abuse, and harassment. Every student deserves the chance to succeed in a positive classroom and school environment. Whether you feel like a school, teacher, or other student has encroached on your child’s rights to a positive educational experience, contact our experienced attorney to discuss the matter and resolve the issue.