Disciplinary issues

8 Steps to Take If Your Child Is Facing Disciplinary Action

By Geri Coleman Tucker

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Schools have to follow certain rules when disciplining students. If your child is accused of serious misconduct, here are some steps to take as the school decides whether he should be suspended or expelled.


Gather the facts.

Talk to the school about what happened. Get your child’s side of the story too. Ask the teacher how your child was doing before the incident. Was there any bullying going on? Were there any other problems?


If you agree with the school’s final decision...

Have your child write an apology. If he has an IEP, find out where he’ll receive special services during the disciplinary period. Keep in touch with the school after the punishment so you can stay on top of behavior issues.


If you disagree with the school’s final decision...

You can appeal the decision by filing a due process complaint. You may want to consult a lawyer or education advocate. Your local Parent Training and Information Center (PTI) may also be a good resource.


If your child has a 504 plan...

Request a meeting with the 504 team. You can use this meeting to discuss whether your child needs a functional behavioral assessment. If he already has a behavior intervention plan, request the meeting to find out whether the interventions were being provided before the incident.


If your child has an IEP...

If your child is facing a punishment of more than 10 days, the IEP team must meet to determine if the behavior was related to your child’s disability. This is called “manifestation determination.” Prepare to speak up at this meeting.


Lay out your thoughts clearly.

Writing them down before the meeting can help you stay focused. This meeting can be an opportunity to persuade the school to take an approach that could benefit your child. Be specific about what you’re recommending and why.


Take notes about what you learn.

If other people were involved in the incident, be sure to write down their names. A written record of what happened can be very helpful later on, as people’s memories may get hazy.


Understand what consequences your child is facing.

Find out how long your child will likely have to stay at home or attend an alternative school. Ask whether the disciplinary action he is facing will be part of your child’s school record.

About the Author

Portrait of Geri Tucker

Geri Coleman Tucker

Geri Coleman Tucker is a freelance writer and editor and a former deputy managing editor for USA Today.

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Reviewed by Donna Volpitta, Ed.D. Jun 17, 2014 Jun 17, 2014

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