Protecting Your Education Through Student Defense

For many, education is the key to success. When something threatens your education, it can endanger your whole future, which is why it is imperative that you do everything possible to protect yourself. When an accusation, criminal charges or anything else poses a risk to your education and future, do not make the mistake of trying to resolve things on your own.

At Bilello & Soowal, PLLC, we can help you earn the outcome you deserve in your legal situation involving your education. We are proud to help clients throughout Florida with these cases, no matter how challenging they may seem.

How We Can Help You

There are many different threats to education, and our experience can act as the defense you need in your case. We have helped clients overcome matters involving issues such as:

  • Conduct code violations
  • Disciplinary hearings
  • Suspension or expulsion
  • Criminal charges
  • Revoked degrees
  • Academic dishonesty
  • Invalidated SAT or ACT scores

We use our vast knowledge surrounding education law to help our clients pursue the ideal outcome in their cases, including the challenges of Title IX.

Frequently Asked Questions About Students’ Rights

Education law is complicated. It involves both state and federal laws. Below, you will find answers to common questions about student rights. Please talk to our lawyers for guidance on your specific situation.

What if a student is accused of cheating?

Cheating and academic dishonesty are serious offenses, both at the K-12 level and in higher education. The consequences of cheating can be severe. Students can face suspension and expulsion. A single instance of cheating could change the entire course of the student’s future.

There are many types of cheating and academic dishonesty. Recently, the explosion of artificial intelligence (AI) technology has led to an influx of school disciplinary measures against students. A lack of clear guidelines around when and how AI may be used – and the fact that it can often serve a legitimate educational purpose – often leaves these cases in gray areas.

Students have important rights when they’re facing accusations of cheating or academic dishonesty. If you or your child has been accused of cheating, our lawyers can provide vigorous advocacy to protect their reputation and future.

What sanctions can a college student face for violating the honor code or student code of conduct?

When a college student violates the honor code or student code of conduct, the consequences can vary widely depending on the institution’s policies and the nature of the violation. Each college and university has its own set of rules and disciplinary systems in place to address such transgressions.

As extensions of the government, public schools must provide students with the constitutional right to due process. Before imposing a sanction, the school must give the student notice of the violation and an opportunity to be heard.

Private schools, on the other hand, are not bound by the same constitutional requirements, but they typically have their own set of procedures outlined in their codes of conduct.

Possible sanctions that a student might face include:

  • Written warnings
  • Mandatory educational programs or counseling
  • Probationary periods
  • Withholding of academic degrees
  • Notation on academic transcripts
  • Loss of privileges, such as extracurricular activities or on-campus housing
  • Suspension
  • Expulsion

These sanctions can have far-reaching implications for a student’s academic and professional future. They can derail the student’s education, career opportunities, graduate school admissions and personal reputation.

Given these high stakes, students facing potential sanctions deserve a knowledgeable education law attorney to advocate on their behalf. Our lawyers are well-versed in Florida education law. We can navigate the disciplinary process, protect the student’s rights and work toward a more favorable outcome. Our goal is to protect the student’s education, future and reputation.

Can a K-12 student be disciplined for social media use?

Potentially. In Florida, K-12 students can face discipline for social media use that disrupts the school environment or violates school policies. However, students have greater rights with regard to their social media use outside the school context.

Public school students have the constitutional right to free speech, which includes social media posts. However, certain types of speech – such as threats – are not constitutionally protected.

Private school students do not have these same constitutional protections since private schools aren’t part of the government. These schools may have stricter policies about social media use. Still, they typically can’t punish students for off-campus social media use.

What is Title IX?

Title IX is a landmark federal law that has far-reaching implications for colleges and universities that receive federal funding. The law prohibits schools from engaging in discrimination on the basis of sex.

It also requires schools to implement detailed policies for addressing allegations of sexual misconduct, such as sexual harassment and sexual assault. Allegations against students can result in disciplinary proceedings with harsh consequences. Importantly, students can still face discipline and expulsion even if criminal charges are never filed against them.

Our lawyers defend students against Title IX actions, both at the school disciplinary level and in any lawsuits or criminal matters involving the allegations.

Can a student be searched at school?

Public schools have broad authority to conduct searches of students. However, the search must be based on a reasonable suspicion that the student is breaking a rule or the law. The search must also be reasonable in scope.

When it comes to private schools, however, those standards don’t apply. The individual school policy and student handbook often contain school-specific search policies.

If you believe your student rights have been violated by an unlawful search, turn to our lawyers for guidance.

Learn How We Can Defend Your Rights As A Student

We handle cases for all education levels, including elementary, middle school and high school, as well as postsecondary institutions such as colleges, nursing schools, medical schools and residencies.

In any case we take, we always work to protect our clients and help them pursue the most favorable outcomes available in their cases. If you are ready to meet with us to discuss how we can help you, contact our Fort Lauderdale office by calling 866-335-1513 or emailing us here today.