An education is an important part of a child’s development. In New York, public schools provide thousands of children with opportunities to learn and grow through their adolescent years. They are supported by countless teachers, aides, and administrators who are tasked with ensuring their access to learning and their safety while at school.
However, not all students are able to get through their kindergarten through high school programs without confronting allegations of wrongdoing by their academic centers and institutions. When a student is accused of breaking rules or violating policies, they may be forced to endure suspensions, which keep them out of school and away from their access to learning.
Depending on the length of a suspension, a student and their parents or guardians may have rights to challenge the grounds on which the student’s disciplinary action is based. This post will examine school suspensions and what rights individuals have to challenge public schools in their imposition of suspensions on students. When students face suspensions and other barriers to learning, they and their families can work with education law attorneys to protect their rights.
Fact #1: The length of a proposed suspension will determine a student’s access to a formal hearing
In New York, 5 days is a critical factor in whether a student will or will not have the right to a hearing on their suspension. For suspensions of up to 5 days, students have access to informal methods of review for their proposed suspensions. Once a suspension is issued for more than 5 days, however, they may request a formal hearing on the matter and the grounds of their alleged wrongdoing.
Fact 2: Alleged acts of violence may be met with suspensions by school principals
Pursuant to New York education laws, teachers may send allegedly violent students to their principals or superintendents for minimum suspensions. Allegations of violence against a student can result in significant removal from classes and the student’s inability to stay current on their education path. When alleged violence is claimed by a teacher, principal, or other administrator, a student and their family should be aware of how suspension may disrupt their learning.
Fact #3: Suspension may not always be the most effective disciplinary method for alleged student misconduct
Districts throughout the state follow the laws regarding student discipline in public schools. However, research suggests that students may be better served by less punitive methods of discipline. When a student is identified as having broken a rule or violated a school policy, the support of an education law attorney may help them demonstrate alternative methods of addressing their alleged conduct for growth instead of punishment.