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.