CT Student Defense Lawyers


It does not matter whether you or a child are in college, high school, or any other educational level: schools have the ability to discipline their students. Depending on the facts and circumstances of any given case, schools will seek to protect themselves from liability and other students in their care. In doing so, schools sometimes forget another important person: you or your child.

At Black’s Law Group, we know that nobody fights harder for a child than their parent, but we try to put ourselves in this very same role for every student discipline case we take. Sometimes a parent needs help and an attorney is needed to protect the child’s rights to fair play and due process. We recognize that anytime a parent and their child call our firm about a school disciplinary issue, it is likely one of the hardest and most trying times in both the lives of the student and the parent.

We hope you call us to see how we can help you and your child if you are facing a student discipline matter. In the meantime, below you can find some information about the different types of student discipline processes and procedures in Connecticut.

School disciplinary processes and procedures depend on what type of action the school is taking. An expulsion is obviously the most severe action a school can take. That also means that expulsions involve the highest levels of protection for an accused student. Sometimes, the school decides, in its discretion, that a student’s conduct was problematic enough to hold an expulsion hearing. In other cases, the school is actually required by state and federal law to initiate an expulsion hearing (mandatory expulsion). Due to the seriousness of an expulsion and its consequences, the school is required to provide written notice to the student and their parents before holding a formal hearing. In most cases, the child accused of wrongful behavior also has the right to a short continuance before the hearing takes place.

An expulsion hearing itself is relatively straightforward. The part that makes it complicated is the speed with which it happens. Facts must be found, witnesses interviewed and subpoenaed, if necessary, evidence reviewed, and defense strategies developed in a very compressed time frame. Engaging an advocate immediately can be the difference between success and failure. At the hearing, members of the Board of Education, or a school-appointed hearing officer, serve as a “judge” or the “judges.” The school will be represented by an attorney who will put on evidence (like witness testimony, videos, etc.) to prove that (1) the student violated a school policy and (2) that the violation presents a serious disruption of the educational process. Accused students have the right to be represented by an attorney who can defend the student’s interests as if it were a court of law. The student has the right to cross examine the school’s witnesses, present a defense, and call witnesses on their own behalf.

Although not as severe as an expulsion, a suspension of any kind is equally difficult. A school can discipline a student through either an out-of-school or in-school suspension.  Suspensions differ from expulsions because a student is not entitled to a formal hearing for a suspension, but may be able to address the allegations in an informal hearing.

Finally, for college students, there is an additional type of case to consider: Title IX cases. Most people who hear Title IX think about sports and the mandated equality between men’s and women’s collegiate athletics. However, Title IX applies too much more, including the growingly common instances where a college student is accused of sexual misconduct. These are serious allegations that may result in fighting both criminal charges and school disciplinary proceedings. Additionally, the school will conduct its own investigation in the case and not simply rely on whatever police report(s) may have been filed. A Title IX case takes on the appearance of its own-mini trial. There are rules about discovery, the presentation of evidence, and accused students are allowed to have an “advisor” present to assist in the case (and even question witnesses).

Whether you are a parent or a student facing discipline, consulting with an experienced, Connecticut student discipline attorney to protect your rights and interests can be the difference-maker in these cases. Sometimes the school forgets that the facts aren’t always black and white. That’s where Black’s Law Group comes in. Call us today for a free consultation.

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