Friday, December 14, 2012

Nine Things NOT To Do At School and One To Do


By Michelle Ball, California Education Attorney for Students since 1995

I am continuously amazed at all the issues which plague students in school and the things which they get disciplined for daily.  I also find that parents too often "trust" the schools to do the right thing until the day they end up in my office.  As such, I thought I would make a list of some of my top things students and parents should NOT do.  This is certainly not an exhaustive list by any means, but contains items which sometimes get overlooked.  Frankly, I could probably list 100 or more "do nots," but 9 seemed enough for the day. 

1)  Do NOT forget your pocket knife in your pocket after camping or weekend activities, throw the same pants on, and bring the knife to school.  Can you say "expulsion recommendation?"
2)  Do NOT throw items which are improper on campus into your backpack "just for the weekend."  Inevitably these things get forgotten about and brought to school.  Only bad things happen after that.
3)  Despite students free speech rights, watch what you say or draw at school or in cyberspace while a student.  With all the terrible school shootings, schools are hyper-vigilant about "hit lists" and art which may depict people getting injured at school.  
4)  Do NOT count on the schools to "do the right thing."  No, that expulsion panel will not "see it your way" or "be reasonable."  Expect the worst and prepare for it.
5)  Do NOT NOT NOT trust the school to be the sole educator of your child.  Parents need to pick up a lot of slack as if they do not, their child may get left behind in their education and even labelled "learning disabled" due to being behind. 
6)  Do NOT "label" your child with a psychiatric condition or disability just because the school says you have to or punishes them constantly.  I have seen energetic 5 year olds suspended repeatedly and parents who felt forced to "label" them with a disease to keep them in school.  Labels have long term consequences.
7)  Do NOT allow your child to give verbal or written statements (usually requested during investigations) to the school.  Anything they say showing they did something wrong WILL be used against them.  Teach them to reply politely asking that you, the parent, be called.
8)  Do NOT let your kids get chummy with school personnel.  No, your teacher should not be taking your son for pizza, having them over for movies, or otherwise having private interactions with them.
9)  Do NOT put your child's education on auto pilot.

TO DO:  know your options when it comes to your kids and their education.  Explore placements other than just the public schools, such as charter schools, independent study, private home schools, and other school options for your child. Their education is key to their future success and you, the parent, are ultimately responsible for the consequences of their not being educated.  They are in school a short time.  Be sure to make the most of it, and of them.

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
Email: help@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.