Category Archive: School Suspensions and Expulsions

SCHOOL SUSPENSION AND EXPULSION HEARINGS

School suspensions and expulsion hearings. Learn what to do to keep your child safe this school year. JuvenileLawCenter.com

The new school year has begun. Review the school rules carefully with your minors before the start of each semester and impress upon them the school rules. Following is important information that parents and students need to be aware of regarding suspensions and expulsions.

CELL PHONES: The higher courts have now ruled school personnel and the police cannot search your minor’s cell phone unless they have the minor’s permission or your permission to do so. They must obtain a warrant to search the phone. Instruct your minor to not consent to a search of their cell phones. They should not physically resist an attempt by the police or school personnel to search their phone, but they should voice their non-consent so the record is clear they or you did not consent to the search.

PARENTS RIGHT TO BE PRESENT FOR QUESTIONING: Can school personnel and police question your minor without you being present? You as the parent have right to be present if your minor is questioned about a violation of the law by school or police personnel. However, your minor must request you be present before being questioned. If your minor does not request your presence, the school and the police are not required to permit you to be present. Once again, your minor must request you be present before questioning.

SCHOOL DISCIPLINE RECORD: We strongly recommend that you request a copy of your student’s school behavior/discipline record at the end of each grading period. This is a golden opportunity to see how your student is behaving in their classrooms. If they are misbehaving, being rude to the teachers, or not doing what they are supposed to do, it gets reported and written on their Discipline Behavior Report. These reports follow your student while they are in the school district and will be accessed if school administrative panels are assessing recommending suspension/expulsion for student violations. You need to quickly curtail misbehavior in the classroom by your student. Tardies and unexcused absences all mount up and will not look good on your student’s record for Administrative Panels, probation officers and Judges of the Juvenile Court.

FIVE OFFENSES THAT REQUIRE MANDATORY REFERRAL FOR EXPULSION:
The offenses that require mandatory suspension and recommendation for expulsion are: 1. Possessing, selling or otherwise furnishing a firearm; 2. Brandishing a knife at another person; 3. Unlawful selling of a controlled substance; 4. Committing or attempting to commit a sexual assault or committing a sexual battery; and 5. Possession of an explosive.

WEAPONS: In today’s climate for school safety even innocently possessing a firearm in your backpack will cause an immediate suspension and expulsion from the school district. If you have guns around the home, place them under lock and key. Do not allow your minor to have access to them or possession of them without your direct supervision. I don’t care how wonderful you think your minor is. They are minors and will do unexpected crazy things. If your minor has access to a knife with a 3-inch or more blade or has a blade that locks into place when opened, I recommend you take possession of it and only return it to them for temporary use when you know they are using it for a permitted purpose. Their knives should not be in their possession or in their vehicle going to and from school or at school. The same reasoning applies to metal knuckles, billy clubs and other items deemed weapons. Even air soft guns can look like and be considered dangerous weapons. Possession of such a gun while going to school, at school or returning home can lead to an expulsion if exhibited to others.

DRUGS: Many minors today use marijuana. A number of them sell and furnish marijuana to their friends to help support their purchases. If they sell or furnish (give) marijuana in any amount while going to and from school or while at school and there is evidence to support they did so, even for a first offense, they will be immediately suspended and recommended for expulsion. Expulsion is highly likely for your minor. If they take prescribed medication, dole out the pills daily so you know they are not providing their medication to others. This is the same as sales of a dangerous drug.

SEXUAL ASSAULT: Please counsel your boys and girls about sexual assault and battery. Boys are particularly vulnerable because even if they believe they are engaging in sexual contact with consent of the female, most females if caught and facing suspension and expulsion, will generally allege they were forced to participate. Unless the girl admits to her false statements, it is highly likely your son will face an expulsion hearing. Even participating in sexual acts with consent can lead to suspensions and expulsions. Counsel your minors about not having sexual content on their cell phones. “Sexting” is common amongst students these days. Photos or videos of minors’ private areas or engaging in sex will be considered possession of child pornography and lead to an expulsion hearing.

EXPLOSIVE DEVICES: Sometimes in Chemistry classes the making of explosive devices is discussed. The students want to experiment, pull pranks and create a destructive device at school. They are not hard to create and there are many videos on You Tube on how to create various bombs. Even powerful firecrackers can be considered explosive devices.

FALSE CONFESSIONS BY MINORS-THEIRS AND YOUR RIGHTS

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Recently there have been stories about false confessions by minors to crimes. The false confessions resulted in very serious charges being filed against the minor(s) resulting in severe prison sentences. Half-brothers were convicted in North Carolina in 1984 of raping and killing an 11-year-old girl. One of the brothers was on death row. Recently analyzed DNA evidence cleared them and implicated another man who is in prison for a similar crime. The brothers were 19 and 15 when arrested. Both were black. After five hours of intense questioning, without a lawyer or a family member present, the brothers confessed. There was no physical evidence connecting them to the crime. They later recanted their confessions claiming they were made under duress and maintained their innocence. In 2010 the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission took up their case. They found the man, who later DNA implicated, and cleared the brothers. The man lived close to where the body of the girl was found. The same man was found guilty for the rape and murder of another girl in similar circumstances.

Five minors were wrongfully convicted of the rape of a woman jogger in 1989 in New York City. The five, all black or Hispanic teenagers, ranged in age from 14 to 16. They were interrogated for hours by the police without access to lawyers or to their parents. They confessed but later recanted alleging their confessions were coerced by the police. The victim had no memory of the attack. The teenagers served prison terms ranging from 7 to 13 years. In 2002, prosecutors determined that another man, a serial violent offender, had committed the crime. The settlement of the subsequent civil suit against the police and the City of New York just settled for $41 million.

Court TV’s interrogation of Michael Crowe aired first in April 2001. Michael, 14 at the time, was suspected by the police of killing his 12-year-old sister who was stabbed to death in San Diego. Fortunately for Michael, the interrogation was videotaped. There was about eight hours of interrogation. Michael had been taken from his family home and put in a home for abused children. The police lied to him telling him they had a substantial amount of blood and hair evidence against him. They suggested to him that perhaps he could not remember what he did. He could talk and get the help he needed or he could refuse to talk and go to jail. Michael cried, “I would rather die than go to jail.” A judge subsequently threw out his confession on the basis it was coerced by the police. Michael was found factually innocent by the court. A civil suit against the police and the City of Escondido was filed.

California courts have held the police can lie and deceive suspects, including juveniles, when they question them. While being interrogated, Michael Crowe declared his innocence 80 times, crying and wondering why the police kept telling him he stabbed his sister. Minors taken from their homes and questioned without a parent present or an attorney representing them are extremely vulnerable to false suggestions, especially if they think by telling the officers what they want to hear they will be able to return home. The minor should be told not answer any questions by the police, the school police, or by school personnel if accused of committing criminal acts without first either consulting with the parent/s or requesting that an attorney be present.

What should parents tell their minor/s to do if arrested?

1. If your minor is detained or arrested by the police, tell them to insist on having a parent present before answering any questions. California state law does not require police to tell a minor they have this right. The minor must verbally insist on having his parent(s) present before any questioning takes place. If you’re minor calls you from the police station, be aware the call is probably being tape recorded. You should not discuss the facts of the case over the phone with your minor. If the police leave you in a room to talk to your minor alone, it’s highly likely they have left you in a room where your conversation will be tape recorded. If the police will not allow you to talk to your minor outside the station, you and your minor insist that an attorney be present before your minor is questioned. Your minor must request an attorney. You’re doing so for your minor will not suffice. It is also likely if you arrive at the police station and your minor is in custody and you insist on being present with your minor, police will stall you speaking to your minor until they have finished questioning them. This is why it is so important you instruct your minor(s) they must request their parent(s) be present before any questioning starts. The police are not permitted to tape record conversations between attorney and the client. They are not permitted to audiotape an attorney and client conversation at the police station.
2. Your minor has a right to request an attorney be present for any questioning. They must request an attorney. The police might not advise a minor of their Miranda rights, the right to have an attorney present before any questioning takes place, claiming the minor was not under arrest and could leave at any time. Tell your minor before answering any questions by the police to request a parent(s) presence and to request the services of an attorney. Tell your minor under no circumstances, if he’s made that request, to further speak to the officers even if they tell them that their conversation is off the record. Statements made in violation of Miranda rights can be used to impeach the minor if they should take the stand and testify as to certain facts not consistent with their statements made to the police which were taken after the request for an attorney was denied.
3. The police will be upset that your minor is requesting a parent be present before any questioning and if they request an attorney be present as well. If possible, the police want a confession from your minor as to their involvement in the crime they believe your minor is responsible for. If not a confession, they want a statement as to what they know about the offense. It is not uncommon for police to threaten the parents and the minor that if they do not cooperate and provide statements they will put the minor in custody immediately and not release them to their parent pending the filing of charges by the District Attorney. When dealing with the police, let them know that you want to be cooperative but you just want to make sure that you as the parent has had a chance to talk to your minor in confidence and can consult with an attorney as to whether the minor should make a statement are not. It could very well be that it is in the minor’s best interests to make a statement even if it might incriminate them, but that should be done after consultation with the parent and, if possible, an attorney.

 

 

WHAT IF YOUR CHILD HAS BEEN ACCUSED OF SEXUAL MISBEHAVIOR WITH A MINOR UNDER 14 OR IF YOUR CHILD IS THE VICTIM OF SEXUAL MISBEHAVIOR

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Most parents will want to immediately rush their minor to a therapist for counseling.

Yes, your minor definitely needs professional counseling–but wrong first move. The therapist must make a referral to the local Child Welfare Services of any reported child abuse. The police are also automatically informed of the report.

We recommend you immediately consult with an experienced juvenile or criminal attorney in your area who has experience with these kinds of cases. Why? The attorney does not have to report the allegation to Child Welfare Services or to the police. There are approved, experienced therapists in your local area that the juvenile probation services and the juvenile courts use for therapy in these kinds of cases. You want your minor seen by one of these experienced therapists. The attorney can consult and refer the family for therapy, psychological evaluations, and other services that will give the minor the best chance to present well to the authorities when the matter is referred to Child Welfare Services. You want, if possible, to avoid your child being arrested and placed in juvenile custody. If they are engaged in approved therapy programs, placed away from having contact with their victim/s, and doing well in school and the community, the courts are more likely to permit them to remain out of custody while their court proceedings take place. Child Welfare Services will generally not remove the minor from the home if there are no younger minors at risk of molest.

We do not recommend you avoid getting therapy for your minor who has abused someone or your minor who may have been a victim. It is our experience this can backfire later in life when the consequences for both the abuser and the victim can be far worse than if handled properly at the beginning of the case. For example, your son was 15 years old when he molested a younger child. It was not reported to Child Welfare Services or to the police until the victim, who is now 18 years old and in therapy, discloses it to their therapist. Your son who is now over 18 will be prosecuted as an adult. The sentence as an adult will be far worse than that as a juvenile. They will be facing lifelong sex registration requirements. If handled as a juvenile, they most probably would avoid a sex registration requirement. If your minor was a victim and if therapy is delayed, they will have many issues in early adulthood that can lead to lifelong problems.

MINORS CAN AND DO COMMIT SEXUAL ABUSE

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If your minor under the age of 18 willfully and lewdly touches the body of a child under the age of 14 and the touching was done with the intent to arouse, appeal, or gratify the lust, passions, or sexual desires of your child or the other child, they are guilty of a felony offense.

Minors today have access to viewing graphic sexual conduct on the television, the internet, and in videos. They no longer have to get a “smut” magazine and secretly view it. From our experiences boys and girls entering the seventh grade become very interested in sex. This is understandable at their ages. They will chat, post, share pictures, talk about sexual contact, and experiment in sexual acts. We all know it is much easier to say and share things in text messages, emails, and on social media sites that one would not do in person. Two of our prior blogs discuss the dangers of modern technology and why parents must actively supervise their minors’ smart cell phones and other technological devices that have internet coverage.

One of our prior blogs describes what is legal and not legal for minors to engage in. We are frequently called in to consult and represent minors when a 10 year old or older is accused of lewdly touching a child a year or more younger than themselves. This can be an older brother or sister sexually touching a younger sibling or step-sibling. It frequently involves younger children of friends or relatives. The minor might be a babysitter or just someone who wants to experiment with a sexual act. This will be done when they have access to a younger minor and are out of sight of the parents.

WHAT CAN PARENTS DO TO HELP MINORS AVOID
SEXUAL MISBEHAVIOR WITH YOUNGER CHILDREN

Talk to your children about good and bad touching. Keep reminding them as they get older about good and bad touching. Impress upon both sexes the importance of reporting any improper touching by adults or other kids.

If you are uncomfortable having this talk, enlist the help of an uncle or aunt or other relative that can have this frank talk. It needs to be repeated until the adults are very comfortable the message has been received.

If you are starting to get more concerned and worried about your minor and their sexual interests, enlist the help of an experienced attorney in juvenile and criminal law in your area who can clearly outline for your minor all the terrible things that can happen if they engage in lewd behavior with minors under the age of 14 as a juvenile and certainly as an adult. Sexual offenses are considered extremely serious and can have a life-long impact on ones life.

 

 

HELP FOR MINORS ACTING STRANGELY AND FASCINATED WITH GUNS AND VIOLENCE

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In a prior blog article we referred to a recent report from the State of Connecticut about Adam Lanza, the 20-year old who shot and killed his mother and killed 6 adults and 20 first graders at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Some of his bizarre behavior is mentioned in our prior blog. Suppose Adam was a teenager. How can parents get help for their teenager exhibiting concerning mental health behavior and who is fascinated with guns, violence, violent video games and has threatened to harm others?

1. Schools have to be very attuned to reports of minors threatening others with violence, reports of their wanting to shoot others, drawings which depict people being shot, and social media threats of violence to other students. If they do get such a report, they will certainly have a conference with the minor and their parent/s at a minimum. Depending on the type of threat, they may immediately report the threat to the police. The police will likely arrest the minor and search their home for weapons and evidence of an intent to harm others. The minor will likely be detained at Juvenile Hall pending court hearings and a request for a psychological evaluation will be made. The parents might immediately have the minor hospitalized in a mental health facility for juveniles pending further court proceedings.

If your child is having behavioral and other concerning problems at home, you can request in writing to the school for an IEP (Individual Education Plan) evaluation to see if they qualify for special education services. Those services could encompass counseling and a behavior support plan at school. County Mental Health would have a unit for juveniles and their services could be requested. Very intelligent kids do also qualify for special education services due to qualifying categories. If you cannot get an IEP, the school may implement a 504 plan for your child. In the 5th grade, Adam Lanza wrote a story about a Granny who shot people with a gun in her cane. In 7th grade his teacher spoke about his preoccupation with violence. These observations by teachers were concerning and certainly warranted more intensive services for Adam and his family before they mushroomed.

2. Remove any guns or other weapons your minor could possibly access in your home or a relatives home. Any weapons must be in a very secure gun locker with the minor having no possible access. If your minor is making threats to harm others, it will be important to remove all guns from the house. If your minor is arrested and detained in Juvenile Hall, it is very likely a judge will not permit him or her back home if there are guns in the home even if they are in a secure locker.

3. Avail yourself of any psychological and psychiatric services for your minor that you can obtain through your health insurance. Parents can have their minors hospitalized for mental health services. They can also arrange for residential placements for their minors. Residential placements can be very expensive if done privately. If there is juvenile court jurisdiction Probation and Social Service Departments can also arrange for residential placements at a substantial reduction in cost to the families.

4. If you have done the above and you are still very concerned about your minor, call the Child Abuse Hotline to report that your minor has serious emotional and behavioral issues and you are concerned they will harm themselves or other kids in the home. A social worker will be assigned to interview you and the minor. The social worker can explain what services, if any, they can provide to help the minor and the family.

5. If your minor is assaulting you or other members in the family, committing vandalism in the home, stealing, threatening bodily harm and is beyond control, call the police and have them arrested and detained in Juvenile Hall. Like with adults, a little juvenile hall time can do wonders to get them to agree to take their medication and agree to see their therapists on a regular basis. Further, they know if they get into more trouble they will be facing more custody. Your minor can get their record sealed when they successfully complete their probation and reach the age of majority. Probation officers and the courts can do wonders to assist you in getting services and mental health treatment for your minor. If needed they can arrange for a residential home for the minor. If your minor is determined to continue to get into more trouble, they have the sanctions of more severe custody time. It is better for your minor to get their misbehavior out of their system when they are juveniles before they reach adulthood.

6. If you have the above control problems of your minor and are at a loss what to do or where to turn, consult with a knowledgeable attorney who is familiar with juvenile delinquency and dependency law in your area.

WHAT GETS MIDDLE SCHOOLERS RECOMMENDED FOR SUSPENSION AND EXPULSION

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1. Sexual misbehavior – Sexual harassment will be sure to warrant a suspension and possible recommendation for expulsion. Seventh and Eigth grade boys and girls are into sex talk. They generally start their conversations on Facebook, Instant Messaging, Instagram, texting and other social media sites. Girls want to encourage the attention from boys so they tease, sext or do other things to get the boy’s interest. Boys can’t wait to talk with the girls and admire what they send them in their photos, texts, and messages. Generally these are boys and girls that attend the same school.

Sexual misbehavior at school is a big “No.” A boy passing a sexual note to a girl will be assessed as “sexual harassment.” The boy will be suspended. Depending on the gravity of what occurred that could turn into a recommendation for expulsion. A boy and girl making out at school behind one of the classrooms is bound to lead to a suspension for sexual harassment for the boy even if the conduct was consented to by the girl. When both the boy and girl are questioned by the vice principal for their conduct, in most cases the girl will say the boy went too far and she did not consent to his sexual touching. This sort of conduct will likely also lead to school police involvement and possible juvenile court charges.  It is not uncommon for seventh and eighth graders to engage in more intimate sexual acts in one of the bathrooms. Most boys and girls of this age view certain sexual acts as not sexual intercourse. The girls can be as equally aggressive as the boys in consenting to and participating in the conduct. Should they be discovered or questioned about their actions, the girl will generally deny consent and the boy will be recommended for expulsion. The law says consent is not a defense to sexual acts with minors under the age of 18. See my prior blog on “Sex Between Minors“.  The police will definitely be called and the minor arrested and either put in custody or referred for prosecution.

2. Threats to kill or cause serious bodily injury. Another way to get a minor suspended and recommended for expulsion is to make a threat on Facebook, by text, Instant Messaging or on a social media site to kill or cause serious bodily injury to another student or an administrator at school. The threat can be made from home and sent to another student by way of the internet. These type of threats are taken very seriously by the school and the authorities. I can guarantee you there will be an immediate suspension pending expulsion. The police will be at your home very soon after they are first notified. They will thoroughly search your home for weapons. Your son or daughter will be arrested. It is not a defense that your son or daughter is being bullied at school, is being threatened, is depressed, has a mental disability, or is just impulsively acting out and does not intend to actually hurt anyone.

3. Drugs/Providing Prescription Medication. I talk about this in my prior blog dealing with high school suspensions and expulsions. The same information applies to middle schoolers. Do not send your minor to school with his or her prescription medication. If your minor ends up providing it to another student, even though no money is exchanged or just to be friendly that is the same as sales of an illegal drug. Under no circumstances have any illegal drugs, seeds, spice or anything else which is not allowed by the school for students to possess. Your minor needs to make sure none of these things are in their backpack, pockets, and clothing. They are not to temporarily hold illegal drugs while another student is being investigated to help out their friend. These types of offenses will lead to suspensions and a possible recommendation for expulsion.

4. Weapons. Boys will often go to school and have a knife or other weapon in their backpack or in their clothing. Quite often the weapon has been mistakenly left in their belongings and they did not intend to take it to school. This is not a defense. Under no circumstance allow your minor to go to school with a gun, a look-alike gun or a BB gun, sling shot, brass knuckles, martial arts weapons, pepper spray, lighter, matches, or anything else which could be used as a weapon. Your minor needs to be responsible to not take these items to school and not be given these items at school to hold for another student or to take home. I can guarantee you another student will tell on them. If substantiated, your minor will be suspended and possibly be recommended for expulsion.

5. Bullying/Fighting. Bullying is being taken more seriously by the schools than in the past. Administrators are under a lot of pressure to get rid of the students who are bullying other students. Impress on your minor not to bully, discriminate racially or taunt with sexual orientation slurs. Your student will end up being suspended and referred for possible expulsion.

We recommend parents frequently supervise their minor’s Facebook, Instant Messaging, texting, and other social media sites.

Be observant as to what is in your minor’s room at home. Do they have a lot of cash that you don’t know where it came from? Are they using drugs?

Little problems become big problems very quickly.

Please read all our blogs to assist you with avoiding behaviors which could lead to suspension and/or expulsion.

WHAT CAN CAUSE YOUR CHILD TO FACE SUSPENSION/EXPULSION/CRIMINAL CHARGES

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Cell Phones which contain incriminating speech or pornographic photographs should not be in your minor’s possession at school. If your minor is brought to the vice principal/school police for an alleged incident, the first thing asked is if they can look at their phone. The officials will lie to your minor and tell them they only want to look for what is related to the incident and they don’t care if there are pornographic photos or other incriminating evidence on the phone. Many high school kids today have nude pictures on their phones. If the picture is of a minor, it is illegal and is an expellable offense. You and your minor are subject to civil suit. It is quite common for girls to sext pictures of themselves to others in confidence. Please see previous blogs on sexting and how that can get the girl and others in serious trouble. I assure you that if any incriminating evidence is found your minor will be brought up for suspension/expulsion and referred for criminal prosecution. The law permits school officials and police to lie to extract incriminating evidence. Your minor should have a lock for their cell phone. They should be instructed not to provide the password to anyone unless they have your direct approval. If they are confronted by a school official or the police, the parents should also contact a lawyer experienced in these kinds of offenses for consultation. Continue the hearing with the vice-principal/police until you have consulted with an experienced lawyer. Our firm does provide a free initial phone consultation.

Prescription Medication is another source of contraband that too often gets minors expelled from school. When your minor brings his prescription medication to school and their friends or other kids find out your minor has pills available, they will ask for one or two to help them concentrate or to try them out. The furnishing of the prescription drug is the same as selling the drug even if no money is exchanged. It is an expellable offense and some schools take a hard line and push hard for expulsion. If your minor takes prescription medication, keep it under lock and key in your possession. Parcel out the morning dose at home. Do not let your minor take his medication to school. If he or she has to have the medication while at school, provide it to the school nurse or to a school administrator so they can administer it if needed.

Drugs should not be in your minor’s possession at school. This means any illegal drugs, seeds, hemp, alcohol, or other substances deemed illicit. It does not matter whether your minor has a medical marijuana card. Your minor is still subject to school discipline. Do not let your minor smoke marijuana or take other illegal drugs, unless prescribed, before they go to school, during lunch breaks, or immediately after school. Anything illegal done on the way to school, away from school on a break, or leaving the school is all subject to suspension/expulsion.

Internet, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media sites for your minors are fair game for suspension and expellable offenses if the talk/pictures cause a disruption at school.

I cannot impress upon parents enough the need to regularly supervise your minors social media sites. They may think it is an invasion of their privacy. Nonsense. As long as they are minors and you are legally responsible to provide for them, you have a duty to properly supervise them and see they do not get themselves into trouble. Boys and girls will regularly call each other offensive names on their Facebook pages. Close friends may accept it but some other students may react differently. Fights take place because of what someone has been called on social media sites. If someone gets hurt in a fight, expect being recommended for suspension/expulsion at school. It is very likely charges of assault by force likely to produce great bodily injury will be filed against your minor. This is a felony and a strike offense if your minor is over 16. You can be sued for the medical bills the other minor incurs for x-rays, scans, doctors, and the emergency room. If not sued, you and your minor will be responsible for those bills as a condition of any probation order. They are usually huge. This applies to girls and boys. Talking about illegal drug use and/or illegal activity is all fair game for the police and school officials to see. It is also important to make sure you know all the web sites your minor has. It is common for the minor to shut down one Facebook page but open another under another name. In previous blogs I have recommended you read the book, Talking Back to Facebook. If your minor or anyone in your home has accessed child pornography, it is an extremely serious offense and depending on the age of the offender can result in many years in custody. Merely deleting the material on your computer does not erase it from your hard drive. If you take your computer in for repair and they see the illegal child pornography, they must report this to the authorities. You must not possess illegal data on your computer. Get a new hard drive or a new computer and make sure nothing illegal is ever put on it.

Weapons of any type can lead to serious charges. Guns, whether operable or not, and anything that looks like a gun, even toy guns that fire pellets, will get your minor recommended for expulsion. It is common for teenage boys to take knives to school they may have left in their clothes or backpacks from Boy Scouts or some other activities. Impress on your children they have to make sure they are not to possess any weapons of any kind in their clothes or belongings. This applies to guns, knives, dirks, daggers, martial art devices like nunchuks, throwing stars, brass knuckles, mace, pepper spray, items otherwise lawful but made into objects for assault, modified baseball bats, or other items that have been altered to be used as weapons.
They should not have any of these items in their cars at school.

Matches, lighters, and chemical compounds can lead to suspension/expellable offenses. What do minors who are bored do with matches and lighters? They want to light something on fire. You will be hit with huge bills for damages. Minors want to blow up things. They have learned from the internet/chemistry class that certain things mixed together can cause explosions. Doing this at school will lead to expellable offenses/criminal charges. Doing them at home will lead to criminal prosecution. Your minor will face multiple felony charges for possession and use of explosives. Anything that causes an explosion of any kind is taken very seriously.

You must take the time to explain these issues to your minors. If you cannot, call our office to schedule a group session where we will instruct a group of minors, in a small group setting at a reduced cost, about protecting themselves from getting into trouble at school or with the law. Tell your minor that if they are ever called to the vice-principal’s office you are to be called before any questioning takes place. Instruct them not to write out any statement until you have first been contacted and had a chance to confer with them. Unfortunately in today’s world school discipline officials do not have the discretion with most offenses to counsel, advise and say next time there will be stiffer consequences. They work hand-in-hand with school police to gather evidence and incriminating statements. If it is an expellable offense, they must refer for expulsion. Your minor has a constitutional right not to incriminate themselves. They have a right to ask you be present before any incriminating questions are asked of them. You have a right to counsel with an attorney before any incriminating questions are asked.

 

 

TEN-YEAR-OLD TAKES SEMIAUTOMATIC GUN TO SCHOOL

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A ten and eleven-year-old boys are in custody in the State of Washington charged with conspiracy to commit murder of a fellow eleven-year-old female classmate. The two allegedly planned to kill the girl “because she was really annoying.” The ten-year-old had a functioning .45 caliber Remington 1911 semi-automatic handgun, ammo clip and a knife in his backpack at school. He said he took the gun from his older brother’s room. His brother had taken it a few months prior from his deceased grandfather’s home. The eleven-year-old companion was going to stab the girl with the knife.

We have attempted in a series of blogs to warn parents of the absolute need to put all guns in their homes under lock and key and only the parents have access to them.  I can guarantee you this story and far worse will be replayed and replayed ad nauseum if parents don’t do this.

These terrible offenses by minors would not take place if they did not have access to guns and other weapons that can kill. Parents blindly believe their minor(s) are not capable of doing such horrific acts. I would venture to say that every part of this country has heard these terrible stories of minors using guns to kill.

By allowing your minor(s) access to weapons YOU are putting them at risk for potential lifetime incarceration, life threatening injuries to themselves, their friends and others.
Educate your minor(s) to never threaten to kill or do seriously bodily harm to others.

Don’t fool yourself that minors are not capable of committing atrocious and horrifying offenses. Here are a couple of real cases where young minors committed terrible offenses without the use of guns. Two 10-year-old boys in England were convicted of abducting and killing a 2-year-old boy whose mother had left him at the front door of a butcher shop while she quickly purchased some items. The boys punched, kicked, picked up and dropped the little boy on his head. They sexually assaulted him, flung paint in his left eye, threw stones at him, beat him with bricks, and hit him with an iron bar. I recall one of the boys took out the dead boys’ eyeballs. When asked why, one of the boys reported “so he could not identify me.” The dead boy was left on a train track. Mary was 11 at the time of her conviction. She strangled to death a
3-year-old boy. The boys hair was cut away, puncture marks were found on his thighs, and his genitals were partially skinned. She imprinted the letter “M” on his stomach.

I have some serious questions whether a number of the minors that commit these serious offenses truly understand the gravity of what they are doing and the fact they are taking human lives. The enormity of what they have done does not impact them until after the fact. They are usually in shock for quite some time afterwards. The odds are your well-behaved minor will not do something terrible. Why take a chance that they or one of their friends will not do something crazy with a gun or other deadly weapon that has not been securely locked up.

Email us and tell us your comments. If you would like us to do a blog on a particular subject, please let us know. Share experiences you may have had that could be helpful to others. Visit our educational videos on You Tube at JuvenileLawCenter.com or McGlinn & McGlinn, Attorneys at Law.

IS YOUR STUDENT’S SCHOOL DISCIPLINE RECORD IMPORTANT? YOU BET IT IS!

Your student's discipline record is very important for their future. JuvenileLawCenter.com

 WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOUR CHILD COMMITS A RULE VIOLATION AT SCHOOL?

It gets reported to the school administration and a record is entered into the Student Assertive Discipline Record. You would expect to see criminal or serious misconduct in the record, but there are also minor things such as classroom violations, dress code violations, bus driver referrals, no show to detention, cell phone violations, defiance to the teacher, being out of bounds during lunch, and being off campus without permission. It is very important that you do not let your son or daughter accrue these types of minor incidents. Just because they are not serious does not mean that the school is not documenting every incident.

JUVENILE PROBATION AND JUVENILE COURTS OBTAIN THE STUDENT’S DISCIPLINE RECORDS

Judges in the Juvenile Court want your child to succeed in life. They will view their behavior records to see how they have been acting at school. Their review of the records will have a great impact on how they decide the sentence for your child. Will they be handled informally by the court? Will they get a break in their sentence? Will they have to go to Juvenile Hall? Will they get out of Juvenile Hall pending charges and be allowed to return home?

Juvenile probation officers make recommendations to the court and to the District Attorney as to what should happen to your child. They also obtain and view the student behavior records.

HOW ARE THE DISCIPLINE RECORDS USED BY THE SCHOOL?

The schools use them for suspension/expulsion hearings. A student who has a non-existent or minimal discipline record will be treated more favorably than a student who has a more extensive record . For example, the principal could handle a fight at school informally with only a suspension and allow the student/s to return to the school. The principal could transfer the student/s to another similar school in the district. The principal could, based on the discipline record, refer the student/s for a suspension/expulsion hearing.

At an expulsion hearing a panel is assembled to review the student’s transcript, their discipline record, the facts concerning the matter before it, take testimony if offered and make a recommendation as to what should happen to the student. The discipline record is akin to viewing a video of your student’s behavior and conduct at school. Which student would you expect the hearing panel to give a break to?

SHOULD YOUR STUDENT BE EXPELLED FROM THE SCHOOL DISTRICT?

A good or bad discipline record could be a key to admittance to a charter or private school.  If the minor is expelled from the school district, they are not permitted to attend any school in the district. They are usually sent to a court school. The worst of the worse get sent to court schools. Some charter schools will accept students who have been expelled, but they will want to see the discipline record and the school transcript before deciding whether or not to accept the student.

                                                   WHAT CAN YOU DO?

1. Request a copy of your student’s discipline record from the school at least each grading period. Review it with your minor. Review the school discipline rules. Impress upon your child that it is not okay to violate school rules

2. Check with your student’s teacher/s whether they can notify you if your child misbehaves or commits rule violations in their class. The sooner you know about it, the faster you can take corrective action.

3. Take the team approach with the teacher/s and the school. You want your child to succeed in school and in life. The school also wants them to succeed.

Write to us and tell us your comments. If you would like us to do a blog on a particular subject, please let us know. Share experiences you may have had that could be helpful to others. Visit our educational videos on You Tube at JuvenileLawCenter.com or McGlinn & McGlinn.

NEW BULLYING LAWS BECOME EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2012. (Part 2)

Bully Part 2

You can read part 1 of this series here.

In more cases than not the bullier is someone who has learned how to push the right buttons. A person can call someone a “faggot” or “gay” or other hurtful names on the internet, in the classroom, by text message, by comments to friends, and know he or she can get away with it because the other student will not retaliate because they are not a bullier themselves. The school will not intervene because no physical fight or threat with a weapon has taken place. At some point the harassment gets to be too much and the student will retaliate by challenging the bullier to fight. In most cases the bullied student prevails in the fight, someone is injured, the police are called, and the bullied student is not only suspended/expelled from school but also prosecuted in juvenile or adult court. If someone causes a concussion, a broken bone(s), or a wound requiring stitches, they are going to be charged with the felony offense of assault by means of force likely to cause great bodily injury, battery with serious injury and possibly other felony offenses. The most serious charge as a felony is a non-sealable offense meaning the minor is ineligible to get his record sealed. There can also be huge restitution costs for the medical expenses incurred to treat the injuries. If a concussion is thought to have occurred, the injured student is taken to the hospital and given CT scans and other medical tests. The medical bills can become enormous. The assaulter and his parents can be ordered to make full restitution. If a student is threatened with a knife or threatens with no weapon to cause great bodily harm or death and the victim is in fear, he or she also will be charged with felony offenses that can have serious consequences. In the news earlier in the year, an adolescent shot and killed another student when he was 14 and the victim was 15. Allegedly the victim was dressing as a “gay” student and came on to the 14 year old. The shooter received a sentence of 21 years in prison.

Communicate with your student. Talk to their teachers and the counselors at school. Review their discipline file every semester. Be aware of your son’s or daughter’s texts and Facebook messages. If your son or daughter is being bullied or you suspect they are being bullied, let them know they must communicate with you. They cannot take matters into their own hands. If you have a gun at home, keep it under lock and key with the student having no access at all. Knives in the possession of kids is another huge problem. Countless kids have been suspended pending expulsion for taking a knife to school. If your son is a Boy Scout and likes to whittle with his knives, make sure they are not left in his pocket or backpack and inadvertently taken to school. Also, you do not want them turning to the knife to threaten another student when they fear they are in danger. The new laws should help the schools to be more proactive in preventing bullying before more serious consequences develop.

The amended statutes are sections of the California Education Code 234, 234.1, 234.2, 234.3 and a new 234.5. Also sections of the Education Code 32261, 32282, 32283, 46600, and 48900 were amended.