Suspensions and Expulsions in Michigan
Michigan students have the right to receive an education in a safe environment. When one student’s access to an education is seriously threatened by another pupil’s actions, the perpetrator may be suspended or expelled.
Many factors must be considered before the school administration decides to expel or suspend a student. For example, age is an important consideration. The tantrums of a kindergarten student may be treated differently than the outbursts of a sixteen year old. In addition to age, various diagnosed or undiagnosed disabilities may play a factor in a student’s behavior. Basically, all students have rights and an experienced lawyer for school issues can help you and your child if they face any disciplinary action in an educational setting.
Kelly & Kelly P.C. has over 30 years’ experience representing juveniles and minors in the Michigan court system. This includes students facing school issues such as explusions, suspensions, and more.
Michigan School Suspension Laws
Suspension: Exclusion of a student from school for a specific period of time or exclusion of a student from school which terminates upon the fulfillment of a specific set of conditions.
The Michigan Department of Education distributes the Michigan Compiled Laws that apply to suspensions and expulsions to each school district. Under MCL 380.1311, a student may be suspended or expelled from school if he or she is found guilty of a gross misdemeanor or persistently disobedient, and the interest of the school is served by the suspension or expulsion. Depending on the length of the suspension a pupil may or may not be entitled to due process.
Michigan School Expulsion Laws
Expulsion: The permanent exclusion of the student from the school system.
Michigan law allows for the expulsion of a student under MCL 380.1311. According to this law, a student may be expelled from school if he or she is found guilty of a gross misdemeanor or persistently disobedient, and the interest of the school is served by the suspension or expulsion.
If a student possesses a dangerous weapon in a Weapon Free School Zone, commits arson in a school building or on school grounds, or commits criminal sexual conduct in a school building or on school grounds, the student shall be expelled permanently from the school district, and a permanent record of the expulsion shall be entered.
Important to note that an expulsion and some suspensions may be entered into a student’s permanent record. So, parents should advise their children to remain silent and ask that their parents be called if and when they are accused of any wrongdoing. That way, parents may contact an attorney for advice.
Types of Suspensions and Expulsions
Michigan Law is quite strict regarding certain criminal offenses that occur on school property. For example:
- Weapons- possessing a weapon on school grounds leads to possible permanent expulsion
- Arson-committing arson on school grounds leads to possible permanent expulsion
- Criminal sexual conduct- committing a criminal sexual act will result in probable expulsion
- Verbal Assault or Bomb Threat- Suspension or expulsion (grade 6 and above)
- Physical Assault of Another Student- Suspension or expelled for up to 180 days (grades 6 and above)
- Physical Assault Student to Teacher or Another Adult- Permanently expelled (MCL 380.1311a) grades 6 and above
Remember, these are serious crimes and often involve the local police department. Often criminal charges are filed against your child. So, it’s very important to tell your child to keep quiet if they are accused of any crime at school. Advise them to ask for their parents. Finally, parents must get a lawyer immediately to represent the accused student.
Rights of a Student
It is extremely important for students to understand that both the school administration and the police can take action against a student for “offenses” that may or may not have been committed on school property. Anything you say (to school admin or the police) CAN and WILL be used against you! Always remain respectful when dealing with school officials and police officers, and if you’re not sure what to do, ask to call your parents, and have them contact me.
School expulsions can negatively affect your child’s future. It’s important to know that any expulsion is recorded on a pupil’s permanent record. In fact, Colleges and Universities may ask if there are any suspensions or expulsions on a future enrollee’s record. So, it’s important to verify if your child was a perpetrator or a victim in any assault case.
Another important area that affects today’s youth is Social Media. Young people may be held responsible for threatening posts aimed at other students or staff. Also, “sexting” may come back to hurt them. So, talk to your Middle and High School aged kids. Warn them to be careful.
Then, if they find themselves in “trouble” warn them to BE QUIET and ask to see their parents. In summary, an experienced attorney can guide you through the suspension/expulsion process. Later, if your child is suspended or expelled an experienced attorney will help your child get back in school as soon as possible.
Education Law Attorney
This specialized area of law involves expulsions, suspensions, academic appeals, student rights, and school-crimes. It is extremely important for students to understand that both the school administration and the police can take action against a student for “offenses” that may or may not have been committed on school property. Our law firm specializes in representing the rights of students.
3 Steps to Responding To Problems At School
First, talk to your kid BEFORE they talk to anyone else. The initial inquiry from school officials, in response to allegations of student misconduct will include an informal “opportunity to explain” that you, as a parent, may not be present for. For some this could be no problem, as the alleged violation of school rules is minimal and the consequence is appropriate. For others, with students facing allegations that ALSO have police involved, you can’t gamble on your son or daughter’s future. Insist to be present!
Second, if the alleged violation(s) of the student code of conduct prompt the involvement of a School Liaison (police) Officer or any other law enforcement officer, then you need help. Don’t assume honesty is the best policy, until you’ve consulted with a lawyer familiar with the school and court issues your student could be facing. If the offense could also be a crime, talking to any school administrator could also further expose your child to police and court involvement. Schools and Police have a legal duty to share information about “crimes” occurring at school/near school/or involving a threat to a student, teacher, or the school itself. Anything your child says at school, can and will be used against them by law.
Quick Tip: Drugs, fighting, property damage, stealing, sex, and anything posted on social media, CALL A LAWYER.
Third, remain proactive in aiding your son or daughter, and provide support. Your lawyer will now provide the roadmap for protecting your child and navigating the hurdles ahead. Trust is essential. At Kelly & Kelly, P.C., we provide a high level of service to a select number of clients. Defending your child from a permanent academic blemish and/or possible juvenile or criminal charges should never be taken lightly, and our firm has a track record of success in helping many families and students thru this difficult time.
Pro-Tip #1: Talk with your kids about what to do BEFORE facing a situation where they are being questioned by school officials or police officers without your knowledge.
Pro-Tip #2: (when possible) Your kid doesn’t talk without a parent present.
Pro-Tip #3: If you’re not sure how serious the situation is or could become, call a lawyer on behalf of your son or daughter and get the proper counsel ASAP!
The world is a different place now for our children; it’s time, we, as parents adapt and prepare for the unknown. If you have questions about what your son or daughter’s school problems may mean for their future, Call Mike Kelly!
Where We Serve Clients
The offices of Kelly & Kelly, P.C. is located in Northville, Michigan. Although this is our physical location, we represent clients all throughout Ann Arbor, Novi, Livonia, Wayne County, Oakland County, Macomb County, and many other locations throughout the State of Michigan. Our law firm is very familiar with the various court systems across the State.