Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Recent Parent Comments Regarding Michelle Ball And Successful Resolutions Of School Matters

By Michelle Ball, California Education Attorney for Students since 1995

Occasionally my clients take their very valuable time and write what we call "Success Stories."  These are little descriptions or comments about their education matter and my involvement.  I have recently been blessed with several coming in all at once and wanted to simply pass them on: two on expulsions and two on transfers.  It has been my pleasure to be involved in these matters and to help the students involved!

"I would highly recommend Michelle Ball for cases involving education!  My child was expelled for bringing a small pocket knife to school.  Even though we were not contesting the fact he brought the pocket knife, we were definitely concerned that our District Office wanted to expel him for a whole year.  This is a kid that has great grades, active in school and community activities, never missed a day of school and never had any previous blemishes on his school record.  I felt the School District office was strong arming me into signing a stipulated expulsion that had no written conditions attached.  I didn't know where else to turn.  I had called half a dozen attorneys that would give me advice and I ended up selecting Michelle after reading testimonials on her website.  I knew right away she was the right attorney to handle our case!  Michelle was able to get our child schoolwork and graded while she worked this out with the School District and also got him back into his own school by the start of the next quarter.  I would never have been able to do it without her.  Michelle is knowledgeable and reliable.  She kept me informed and she gave me hope.  We are grateful we found her!" -- SS

"Back in CA & not a moment to soon...
After an entire decade of school districts in both California and Arizona discriminating against my behaviorally challenged and learning disabled student, Michelle Ball put them in their place quick! We were facing expulsion, yet she was able to stop this just in time, even on short notice. Instead of showing up to a meeting and being told how my son's future was "over" the entire administrative staff and educators present in a taped meeting did a complete 360 degree turnaround, staying nearly silent throughout the ordeal, only to say that they'd decided to keep my son enrolled and try better to make sure they had followed procedures for next time. Michelle did this with one email, which the principal received that morning! Now, I will say, that the former principal is unfortunately the new Superintendent of our district, but they aren't messing with ME anymore! My only regret is not calling Michelle 10 years ago, before my son was allowed special ed status. Our ordeal has been a literal nightmare up until this point, but things have certainly improved & I feel like a champion! Thanks so much...." - KC in CA at last.


"Michelle got us on track.  Michelle’s knowledge of school district policies was invaluable in our effort to secure an inter-district transfer for our daughter.  She provided a clear, concise argument for our case and kept us focused on facts that the school district would have to acknowledge.  We ultimately prevailed in securing a transfer, and our daughter is thriving in her new environment.  Thanks Michelle for all the hard work!"
– KH and CH

"Michelle helped us to successfully change a denied interdistrict transfer to approved.  She is knowledgeable, reasonable, detailed, and a great communicator to have in your corner.  I would absolutely hire Michelle again and recommend her to anyone needing educational representation."  - LC

THANK YOU!!!!!!!!  It was my honor to be involved helping these students! 

Please note: these testimonials or endorsements do not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of a legal matter.

[This communication may be considered a communication/solicitation for 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
Email: help@edlaw4students.com


[please like my office on Facebook, subscribe via twitter and email, and check out my videos on Youtube!]

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, January 25, 2013

Smoke And Mirrors For California School Suspensions Or Real Requirement "Other Means Of Correction" Be Imposed?

By Michelle Ball, California Education Attorney for Students since 1995

On January 1, 2013, California Education Code §48900.5 improved when language describing specific  "other means of correction" which must precede certain suspensions expanded.  But was this a "real" improvement or just smoke and mirrors?  Both.

When I reviewed the legislative changes initially, I was excited.  However, when I delved into what the nuts and bolts were of the changes to Education Code §48900.5, the excitement faded.  Section 48900.5 appears to limit when schools can impose suspensions on students for certain offenses.  But, as school discretion remains to suspend students who may be dangerous, even on a first offense, §48900.5 remains weak for students.


Frankly, schools perceive and justify almost ALL actions by students as "dangerous," in some way or another and so will try to skirt §48900.5.  If you don't believe me, check the recent stories about students being in trouble for having a gun made out of paper, being punished for wearing t-shirts with the American Flag on them on Cinco de Mayo, or my own war stories of a student being kept out of school when saying "get her" on line, or expelled for forming their fingers into a "gun."  These are not fiction.  


I hope that schools will take to heart the INTENT of the legislature in truly applying "other means of correction" prior to suspensions, such as:


-- Study teams

-- Guidance teams
-- Programs teaching pro-social behavior
-- Parent teacher conferences
-- Referral to a school counselor
-- After school program on positive behavior.
-- Other alternatives to suspension.

The legislature clearly intended for schools to cut down on suspensions and to focus first on alternatives to suspension.  However, as discretion was left with schools for "dangerous" students and students fitting certain violation categories (threats, drugs, fights, etc.), the changes may ring hollow.  For, if schools interpret ALL, or most, student activity which leads to suspension as "dangerous," it will be as if §48900.5 did not exist.


Regardless, parents should read this code and be familiar with it to push for alternatives to suspension.  Suspensions can impact a student's ability to get into certain colleges, and can cut down on that student's reputation and self-esteem. Too many suspensions and youths can give up on the school system altogether, and who could blame them?  Demand that your school impose alternatives to suspension pursuant to §48900.5 while attacking specious claims of "dangerousness," 
and our public schools may just change for the better.

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


[please like my office on Facebook, subscribe via twitter and email, and check out my videos on Youtube!]

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.


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Once Approved On An Interdistrict Transfer- Do Parents Have To Reapply?

By Michelle Ball, California Education Attorney for Students since 1995

Have you reapplied for an interdistrict (between two school districts) transfer and been denied?  California schools are holding tight to their students due to monetary and other considerations.  However, there is one bright spot which could help parents already on an approved interdistrict transfer: Education Code section 46600(a)(1).

Section 46600(a)(1) outlines some rules related to interdistrict transfers and states:

"Once a pupil in kindergarten or any of grades 1 to 12, inclusive, is enrolled in a school pursuant to this chapter [e.g. interdistrict transfer], the 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." (emphasis added)

One exception (excluding students entering eleventh or twelfth grade in the upcoming year) requiring reapplication includes a breach of the terms of the interdistrict attendance agreement by the student.  Reapplication would then be required.  Interdistrict transfer terms vary, but usually include a requirement that the child attend school regularly, not receive certain discipline infractions, and other basic rules.  

This section is relevant for parents who have had their interdistrict transfer approved for any reason.  Per this section, once approved, the interdistrict transfer continues until breached.  

However, most parents and districts think that a reapplication is necessary yearly. Section 46600 contradicts this presumption and reapplication may be unnecessary.

The reason I say "may" when the code seems so clear is that Districts can be slow to recognize  legal change (this change went into effect in 2011) and this means there may be some "disagreement" among them on whether a new application is needed yearly.  Districts may also try to do an end run around the code and make reapplication a "condition" of continued attendance.

If a parent wishes to be absolutely certain that his/her child may continue attending without reapplication, they should obtain confirmation from the districts involved.  Or, if they reapply and are "rejected," may try to use this section (among others) to lodge an appeal.  

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


[please like my office on Facebook, subscribe via twitter and email, and check out my videos on Youtube!]

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.