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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 118237
Experience:  Experienced attorney: Family law, Estate Law, SS Law etc.
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I moved to Connecticut 9 months ago and my son attends school

Customer Question

I moved to Connecticut 9 months ago and my son attends school in Middletown. He has good grades but has been in some minor disciplinary trouble at school (talking in class, walking around in class, attitude) that have led to a 1 day in house suspension, several referrals from teachers and probation in the second quarter which was scheduled to end May 16th. He shared with me (as did some of his school peers) that the principal accused him of smacking something out of a girls hands in the lunch room and proceeded to yell in his face and tell him he could leave the school if he didn't like it. There were also other incidents where I felt due process wasn't happening (only speaking with the accuser and not the kids being accused before deciding punishment even though no adult was present). I came to school and spoke with the principal regarding the things that had happened (according to my son) and he didn't deny yelling in my son's face and telling him he could leave. Instead he became agitated but told me he had never lost his cool like that before. I told him that I was fine with my son being reprimanded if he did something wrong but never in that manner. I also told him that I expect due process when it comes to incidents and not for my son to be automatically accused and given penalties with unfair treatment. He began to tell me how my son needs to go to a trade school and that his class is better when he isn't there. Then proceeded to tell me he had to leave and got up and began to walk out the room. Although I didn't have an appointment I was surprised at his behavior and said Wow! He replied "wow is right" and I asked for his supervisors information which he provided while rolling his eyes. I called the Superintendent the same morning and she said she would speak with him but never asked the spelling of my or my son's name.
Since then there have been incidents where other students and my son felt he was targeted by the Principal. He is now in the 4th quarter at school with good grades and his behavior has improved (as per his teachers on progress report and email) however, I just received a letter from the principal (not signed or on letterhead) stating that my son would be on probation until the last day of school. This prevents him from attending his prom, any trips or extracurricular activities at school.
I believe this is unjust since the probation was a set period and in that time (from end of 2nd quarter to now 4th quarter) his grades have been good and his behavior has improved as noted by the teachers in his progress report. Do I have any recourse as it relates to this issue. I believe it is unfair to deny him his prom and class trip when he has done exactly what the probabtion has required which was improve his behavior and not receive any additional referrals. In regards ***** ***** referrals, I am not notified about referrals (who is writing them and why) so any teacher can write them at will.
My email is***@******.***. Thank you in advance for listening.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
I am afraid that extracurricular activities are discretionary to the school and as long as a student is not being denied participation solely based on race/sex/disability/national origin/gender identity then the school has the right to deny a student who is on probation participation in any extracurricular events.
The only person who can overturn the principal's decision is the superintendent. The courts hold that a student does not have legal due process rights in school, it is up to the school rules and process as to what rights a student has. The school has a right to impose their own disciplinary process.
What you need to do though is get your son evaluated by a professional therapist because if you can show that the minor behavior issues are caused by some disability (ADD or ADHD or whatever), then you have the school over a barrel, because you would be able to send them a written demand for reasonable accommodation for his disability and they cannot then continue to harass him and would have to develop a written plan and stick to that plan to help your son and if they do not do so then you can sue them for violation of your son's rights under the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA) or the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Aside from trying to attack the school through the IDEA or ADA, your only other recourse is appealing the school's decision to the superintendent and they are the final recourse.