Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Suspension Or Expulsion For Knives, Guns, Explosives Or Dangerous Objects And A Way Students CAN Have Them On Campus?

By Michelle Ball, California Education Attorney for Students since 1995

What will happen to Johnny if he has a gun, knife, explosive, or dangerous object on campus without permission?  We all know the usual answer, but according to the California legislature, it will depend on whether Johnny has permission to possess the item.

Under California Education Code section 48900(b), students may be suspended or placed up for expulsion if they:

"Possessed, sold, or otherwise furnished a firearm, knife, explosive, or other dangerous object, unless, in the case of possession of an object of this type, the pupil had obtained written permission to possess the item from a certificated school employee, which is concurred in by the principal or the designee 
of the principal."

So, if Johnny has a gun, sells a gun, or provides a gun to someone, he can be suspended or expelled.  Same difference with a knife or explosive, which seems fairly self-explanatory. With the "dangerous object" portion, schools may interpret "dangerous object" as covering practically anything, rightly or wrongly.  For example, a pencil, scissors, stick, book, pillow, spit, urine, chemicals, and on and on, depending on how the object were used.  As such, this code section can sometimes be stretched, properly or improperly, to attempt to meet the situation.  A parent would of course argue a pillow, book, or other common object was never a dangerous object and the intent was to cover obviously dangerous objects (nunchucks, throwing stars, etc.).

Section 48900(b) provides an interesting exception which could avoid a suspension: permission to possess a gun, knife, explosive or dangerous object (this is too good to be true!).  But, how any student would ever get "permission" to possess a firearm, knife, explosive or "dangerous object," is beyond me.  I would suggest that any child who actually had the nerve to seek permission to bring one of these items on campus, would be interrogated and searched by today's school administrators.  This would not be okay, but they would probably take such a request the wrong way and go after Johnny regardless of what the code says.

Obviously when this code was written many years ago, the legislature thought this might be possible.  The only scenario I can think of is for some kind of school play, or an authorized in-class demonstration (show and tell).  If "permission" is sought, make sure it is granted in writing and the principal signs off as well as the teacher granting the permission, or the kid could be toast regardless of the situation.

Best,

Michelle Ball
Education Law Attorney
LAW OFFICE OF MICHELLE BALL
717 K Street, Suite 228
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: 916-444-9064
Fax: 916-444-1209
Website: 
http://www.edlaw4students.com/

Please see my disclaimer on the bottom of my blog page. This is legal information, not legal advice and no attorney-client relationship is formed by this posting, etc. etc.!  This blog may not be reproduced without permission from the author and proper attribution of authorship.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Interdistrict Transfers in California: Can A School Require You To Reapply?

By Michelle Ball, California Education Attorney for Students since 1995

Interdistrict transfers (move of student from one school district to another at parent request) are common events.  A parent does not like where their child attends school,  the district programs available (e.g. no GATE), wants their child closer to work, or otherwise wants to move their child.  They then request a transfer to another school district.  Once that transfer request is granted, can the school require students to reapply year after year for a transfer?  No.

Per California Education Code section 46600, two school districts may enter an agreement to accept students of  the other district.  Once accepted on an interdistrict transfer, however:

"[T]he pupil shall not have to reapply for an interdistrict transfer, and the governing board of the school district of enrollment shall allow the pupil to continue to attend the school in which he or she is enrolled."

This is wonderful as if you are "in," you remain "in."  Previously, I would hear from parents who would have to reapply every year to maintain a transfer- no more.

Section 46601, however, does specify that a district may develop terms of revocation.  I have often seen VERY VERY restrictive interdistrict transfer agreements stating that if a student "does not follow school rules," their transfer will be revoked.  I would certainly argue against revocation for minor events.  However, depending on the terms of revocation at the new district, this statute loses some of its strength.  Still, for most parents, this will be good news.

Additionally, once a student is transferred and will attend the eleventh or twelfth grades in the upcoming year, their transfer can no longer be revoked.  For the school of attendance to kick them out then, they would have to expel them or impose an involuntary transfer.  This should ease some parents' worries on their high schoolers' continued attendance.


Best,

Michelle Ball
Education Law Attorney
LAW OFFICE OF MICHELLE BALL
717 K Street, Suite 228
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: 916-444-9064
Fax: 916-444-1209
Website: http://www.edlaw4students.com/


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Please see my disclaimer on the bottom of my blog page. This is legal information, not legal advice and no attorney-client relationship is formed by this posting, etc. etc.!  This blog may not be reproduced without permission from the author and proper attribution of authorship.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Now Is The Time To Change Schools In Roseville Joint Unified School District As District Identified As "Needs Improvement" Under No Child Left Behind: DEADLINE OCTOBER 17, 2011

By Michelle Ball, California Education Attorney for Students since 1995

Roseville Joint Unified School District has an important deadline approaching Monday October 17, 2011 that parents must be aware of if they have been wishing to change schools.  As the District was identified as failing in certain areas, under No Child Left Behind, they are now obligated to allow students from Adelante High School, Roseville High School and Antelope High School to transfer to Granite Bay High School, Oakmont High School, or Woodcreek High School. See below for an email sent to me by a parent regarding this issue.  So, act now, if you want to move.  Also, see the District website and their announcement and form.


"For Immediate Release:                                    For Further Information, Please Call:
October 5, 2011                                              Steve Williams (916-782-6565x1057)


Good evening this is Steve Williams, Director of Pupil Services, with an important announcement from the Roseville Joint Union High School District.

Once again, the Roseville District has shown steady improvement on the Statewide Academic Performance scores called API and those scores are posted on the District web page.

However, as part of the federal No Child Left Behind Act, our District has been designated for Program Improvement which requires us to notify every parent and also requires us to accept transfer requests from current Adelante, Antelope, and Roseville HS students to attend Granite Bay, Oakmont, or Woodcreek High School for the start of term two in January.

Students attending Adelante, Antelope, or Roseville High School, who wish to transfer, must apply to Granite Bay, Oakmont, or Woodcreek High School by Monday, October 17.

Student Transfer Enrollment Forms are available in the Main Office of Antelope HS, Roseville HS, the District Office, and online under RJUHSD Student Transfer Choice Program.

Please feel free to call my office if you have any questions at 782-6565x1057.

Thank you and have a good evening.

Steve Williams
Director of Pupil Services"


Best,

Michelle Ball

Education Law Attorney
LAW OFFICE OF MICHELLE BALL
717 K Street, Suite 228
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: 916-444-9064
Fax: 916-444-1209


Please see my disclaimer on the bottom of my blog page [http://edlaw4students.blogspot.com/]. This is legal information, not legal advice and no attorney-client relationship is formed by this posting, etc. etc.!  This blog may not be reproduced without permission from the author and proper attribution of authorship.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

What Parents Must Consider Before Giving In To School Pressure To Have Their Children Evaluated For A Mental Disorder

By Michelle Ball, California Education Attorney for Students since 1995

When a school pressures a family to have their child evaluated for a mental illness, usually for special education, it can be a very confusing time.  But before parents "give in," they owe it to their child to conduct a thorough and thoughtful evaluation of all possible causes and solutions to the situation.  Labeling a child with a mental illness, such as ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), ED (Emotional Disturbance), ODD (Oppositional Defiance Disorder), or some other mental disorder, is a life-changing decision which not only alters the child's life forever, but also opens the door to potential mind-altering drugs to "control" the child's classroom issues.

Since 1995 I have been helping parents and students in all types of school matters, and I have represented parents both in and out of the special education system.  I have also assisted a handful of parents who fought against school pressure to label their children with mental health disabilities due to problems in the classroom.  The public schools and their staff often push parents to have their child evaluated by a medical professional, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist. Many parents follow through, as their child is not learning, is a problem in the classroom, or acts bad at school, and they don't know what else to do.  But is a disease really the cause?  Maybe, maybe not.

Consider these other potential causes:

1)  An undiagnosed physical disability.
2)  Nutrition/food issues.

3)  Sleep deprivation.

4)  Energy and interest in life.
5)  Poor teaching.
6)  Poor control of the classroom.
7)  Need to move around rather than sit still for 6 hours a day.
8)  Failure to understand the work in the time given.  Public schools don't stop for any student- they just move on whether the child understands or not.  When a child does not understand, they can get bored, distracted, and disinterested.
9)  Need for additional assistance with the work at school (not because of a disability, but because they just did not GET something).
10)  Teacher conflict with the student and/or a bad fit.
11)  Need for more stimulation in the classroom, such as visuals, music, movement, change.  Not all students learn best by sitting, listening, and reading.  
12)  School is not taught in an interesting way.
13)  Poor parenting- parents not working with them at home, not disciplining enough, not there.
14)  A multitude of other reasons.... other than a mental illness.

Sadly, if a student is pushed into the mental health system for the above reasons, it is not because they have a "DISABILITY," but because of something else. However, they may still be labelled as disabled and carry that crutch the rest of their lives.

Labeling a child with a psychological disorder is a BIG deal, and opens the door for drugs- drugs for behavior, drugs for attention, drugs for...control.  If Johnny sits there and no longer blurts out, the teacher will be happier, but will Johnny actually be better off?  Parents need to first consider what would help their CHILD to survive, learn, and flourish.  The school's needs are secondary.

When considering such avenues, parents should check the following sites (among others) for alternatives and information on labelling and drugging of children for alleged mental disorders:

-  Alternative Mental Health.com
-  The Block Center- alternative ADHD treatment
-  Public Service Announcements and the website of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights
-  The Psychiatric Drug Search Engine


Do it for your child.

Best,
Michelle Ball
Education Law Attorney
LAW OFFICE OF MICHELLE BALL
717 K Street, Suite 228
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: 916-444-9064
Fax: 916-444-1209
Website: http://www.edlaw4students.com/

Please see my disclaimer on the bottom of my blog page [http://edlaw4students.blogspot.com/]. This is legal information, not legal advice and no attorney-client relationship is formed by this posting, etc. etc.!  This blog may not be reproduced without permission from the author and proper attribution of authorship.