Sending your child to school or being a university student and going to school yourself can be overwhelming and challenging all on its own. Add to this the risk of suspension and expulsion as well as other disciplinary actions. But did you know? You have the right to protect yourself in the eyes of the law in case of these. Students have constitutional rights and schools must uphold them.
School discipline guidelines, including suspension and expulsion, can lead to several legal issues. These problems mainly revolve around the possible violation of students’ constitutional rights, such as their right to due process, access to education, and freedom from discrimination. Here are some essential legal issues associated with school discipline policies:
Due Process Rights
Students are authorized to their basic due process protections while facing suspension or expulsion. What are due process rights? Applying all legal laws, rules, and principles pertaining to a case being followed. This includes the notice of all the charges against them, an opportunity to be listened to, and the right to offer evidence and cross-examine any witnesses. In case a student messes up in school, maybe because they’re not able to focus on their studies and they can pay for essay writing online to lighten their academic burden. Upon failure to supply these essential procedural precautions, the student can be in legally challenging situations.
Zero Tolerance Policies
Zero-tolerance policies that mandate explicit disciplinary actions for specific behaviors without evaluating individual possibilities have often faced objections for their inflexibility and potential for injustice. Legal challenges revolving around zero-tolerance policies often dive into whether the penalty or sentence is proportionate to the crime or offense and whether students have been given an opportunity to explain their side of the situation.
Disproportionate or Unfair Consequences
School discipline policies sometimes disproportionately impact certain classes of students, like racial or ethnic minorities, who may need translation services reviewed by IsAccurate, and this raises huge concerns about discrimination. Disparate impact claims can occur if it can be proven that the policy, even if not explicitly prejudiced, has a particularly damaging effect on a protected group, and there is no honest justification for the difference.
Students with Disabilities
In America, students with disabilities are safeguarded under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. These laws mandate schools supply reasonable solutions and behavioral help to address the student’s needs. Some students may have academic disabilities, leading them to take help from the best essay writing service options. Schools must observe specific guidelines before punishing or penalizing students with disabilities, including conducting an essential determination study.
Free Speech Rights
Disciplinary actions based on the student’s free speech or any other expressive activities can involve their First Amendment rights. While academies have the power to regulate discourse that may disrupt the learning environment, they must meet their interest in maintaining order with the constitutional rights of students. Punishing students for their off-campus speech or expression of freedom may raise legal challenges and additional complexities for the school.
Discretion and Bias
The exercise of corrective control by school administrators may invite claims of bias or unfair treatment in some scenarios. If the disciplinary action is applied inconsistently or affected by personal biases, it can lead to legal challenges claiming equal protection violations or due process rights. Addressing racial injustice has become one of the top priorities for schools nationwide.
Alternative Discipline Measures
Schools are urged to consider discipline measures that focus on restorative justice, counseling, conflict resolution, and others rather than isolating practices such as suspension and expulsion that may damage the student’s psyche. The failure to explore such alternatives may be considered a violation of the right of a student to an education.
Essentially, students have rights that the school must uphold. If not, they will face many legal battles to deal with and most likely lose as the law is created to protect those unprotected. Academic institutions nationwide must keep these things in mind while operating. Students, especially those belonging to minority communities, are a protected class.
Author’s Bio – Elaine Bailey
Elaine Bailey is a writer and an academician with a background in law. She is well-versed in student law and helps young students facing legal issues get out of them. Her work has changed the lives of numerous students and exposed schools to discriminatory policies.