An expulsion notice starts a countdown ticking. As parents, you have only 10 days or less before the expulsion hearing. That means you have to get ready right away. Here are five steps you should take to prepare your family for an expulsion hearing:
- Ask to see your child’s school record. Reading the record will help you understand what the school believes has happened. It should have information about the incident, including names of witnesses that the school might ask to testify at the hearing and documents the school may use as evidence at the hearing.
- Talk to witnesses. Try to talk to as many of the school’s witnesses as you can before the hearing to find out what they plan to say.
- Make a list of people who can be witnesses to help you tell your side of the story. Talk to these people so you will know what they will say and ask them to come to the hearing. You may also want to find some “character” witnesses. A good character witness would be an adult from outside the family, such as a scout leader, someone from your church, or a coach who knows your child and can say some positive things about him or her.
- Plan your strategy for the hearing. Remember the two issues that will be decided at the hearing: 1) whether the child should be expelled and; 2.)how long the expulsion should last.
- Ask for help if you need it or contact an attorney. If you have trouble doing things on time or keeping track of paperwork, ask a friend or family member to help you prepare for the hearing. Practice what you would like to say before you’re at the hearing. If you’re nervous about the hearing, ask someone you trust to drive you there and stay with you for support. If possible, talk to an education attorney.
What if My Child has been Arrested and has to Appear in Juvenile Court?
It is not unusual for a child to face expulsion and criminal charges for the same incident. The school can expel the child even if the criminal case is resolved, so the child should be careful not to make statements at the expulsion hearing which could be used against him/her later in the Criminal or Juvenile Court. Be sure to consult with the criminal defense attorney handling the criminal matter about what, if anything, your child should say at the expulsion hearing.
Attorney Mark Zimmerman has been helping to guide students and their families in dealing with school disciplinary matters and related criminal charges in Sarasota and Manatee Counties since 2000.
Contact the Zimmerman and Zimmerman Law Firm today at (941) 364-8503 so that your child doesn’t have to go it alone.