Due process rights protect all students, giving parents the right to appeal any disciplinary action that is taken by the school against their child. Regardless of a student’s level of academic achievement, disciplinary action can encumber a student’s ability to learn, thrive, and in some instances hinder their continuing education in the classroom. The law governing student discipline is vast and complex; it includes decisions from the New Jersey Commissioner of Education and the state Board of Education, as well as individual codes of conduct within schools. Students with disabilities are entitled to additional considerations and accommodations set forth by the federal and state special education laws.
New Jersey law states that a student may be suspended or expelled for “good cause,” which includes, but is not limited to, any of the following conduct:
• Continued and willful disobedience or open defiance of authority
• Stealing or damaging school property
• Occupying or causing others to occupy the school building without permission
• Possessing, using, or being under the influence of illegal drugs or alcohol in the school building or on school grounds
• Harassment, intimidation, bullying, or injuring another
• Conviction or adjudication of delinquency for possession of a gun on school property, on a school bus, or at a school function
• Violation of academic honor code or code of conduct
If your child is facing what you believe to be an unfair short-term suspension or detention, you may be able to request a grievance conference on your child’s behalf. The grievance procedure is less formal than the appeal process for harsher punishments. The grievance procedure for mild disciplinary actions usually involves the following:
• A conference involving the student, parent(s), and principal to discuss the incident and punishment.
• If the parties are not satisfied with the conference, they may request a second grievance conference with a designee of the superintendent.
• If the parties are still not satisfied, they can submit an appeal to their district's disciplinary appeals board.
Long-Term Suspension or Expulsion
If your child has been suspended for a minimum of 10 days, or if they have been expelled, you may want to appeal the school’s decision. Long-term disciplinary actions may affect your child’s ability to earn a degree or affect their future employment prospects, result in lost months of school and possibly a loss of tuition. We provide counseling for all disciplinary proceedings and appeals to advocate for the best interest of your child.
In situations where your child is a victim of another student’s behavior, we can offer legal advice for how to best navigate the disciplinary process to ensure that the child is safe and protected.
The staff at the Law Offices of Sandra L.Lascari, LLC is committed to protecting the rights of children with special needs through a manifest determination, modification to the IEP, or functional behavioral plan to address the student’s behavioral challenges. We are committed to guiding children and their families through this process and ensuring that procedures and laws to protect students from arbitrary and wrongful discipline are followed.