The school district has decided that your child has violated a school rule or a provision of the education code. Misconduct may have occurred warranting at a minimum a short term removal from school such as a suspension. The next steps that you as your child's representative take can make or break the outcome of your case.
A PARENT'S ROLE:
The phone rings and you are asked to come to school because your child has been suspended. At this meeting you are possibly thinking "this is embarrassing but this is no big deal". The problem with this thinking is that you are only at the very initial stages of the process and the determination has likely not even been made as to whether the student will be expelled.
A LIST OF INFORMATION GATHERING TYPE STEPS YOU SHOULD CONSIDER TAKING WHEN YOU ARRIVE:
1. Ask to see the notice of suspension. Take the time to review that notice, ask questions about the who, what, where, why and how the school district came to the conclusion that misconduct occurred.
2. Take notes and include who you spoke with when you arrived at school, the time and date you met with the school's representative, what they told you about the case and the next steps and what is the length of the suspension.
3. If the school district representatives told you they conducted an investigation, especially one that involves the police, get as many names of who the school district staff spoke with, whether your child provided a statement and whether you can have a copy of that statement before you leave. Find out if a report will be generated and whether and when you can get a copy of that report.
4. Get a sense of whether the school district intends to expel your child and ask what the basis of that determination is.
5. If the police are involved, and your child has not been questioned, notify the policy that you want an attorney present.
6. If your child has been injured, make sure that you take your child to a doctor or therapist immediately to document the injury.
7. Speak to your child immediately after the charge which forms the basis of the suspension or the expulsion so that you can gather all the relevant evidence such as who may be witnesses who would rebut the charges and what actually occurred.