What do parents need to know about school disciplinary actions?

On Behalf of | Oct 12, 2022 | Student Defense

Ideally, both you and your child’s Florida school will want the best for your child. Unfortunately, certain disciplinary actions taken by your child’s school may give you cause for concern. In these situations, you have the right to question these actions.

Always gather the facts first

Although getting a notice about a student disciplinary action can be stressful, parents should try to remain calm and gather the facts of the situation. Talk to both your child and their school.

Certain disciplinary actions must involve law enforcement

Under Florida education law, the following suspected actions must require a consultation with law enforcement:

  • Alcohol use
  • Arson
  • Drug-related behaviors
  • Physical attacks or sexual assault
  • Robbery, burglary and theft
  • Threats
  • Hazing
  • Vandalism

Major offenses that do not require the use of law enforcement under Florida law include:

  • Fighting
  • Harassment
  • Tobacco use
  • Bullying

In some cases, you may not agree with the school’s judgment, especially if your child had to deal with the police when it was not necessary.

Dress codes often violate your child’s rights

If your child is sent home for violating the dress code of conduct, their school may have violated their Title IX or Title VI rights. These laws prevent gender-based discrimination, and they apply to dress codes. School dress codes cannot require any of the following:

  • Require gender-based haircuts
  • Specify dresses or pants based on gender
  • Forbid students from wearing clothes related to their gender identity
  • Target students for hairstyles worn by certain races, such as braids or locs.

Parents must act to protect their child’s rights

Schools in Florida must follow rules when they are deciding on disciplinary actions. Parents should be aware of their rights and options when their child is facing disciplinary action. Your child will not have the ability to speak out and protect their rights, so you must be willing to do that on their behalf.