High school is a place where we hope our children will learn not only the basic education needed to move onto college or into a career but also that they will learn life lessons that will help them relate to others in the community. That learning process, however, is not perfect, and at times, our children will make mistakes.
Sometimes, those mistakes can be severe, and lead to discipline from their school. Recently, one of our clients, a high school athlete with a promising career, was facing expulsion from the Burbank Unified School District. The student had been accused of bullying and sexual harassment of another student, and the school and the district were both pressing for expulsion.
Bullying and Sexual Harassment Are Serious Offenses
Under California’s Education Code Section 48900(r), bullying is defined as encompassing several kinds of acts, whether physical, verbal, written, or electronic, that have the effect of placing another student in fear of harm to themselves or their property, that has a detrimental effect on the other student’s physical or mental health, interfere with their academic studies, or deny them the opportunity to participate in school activities. Bullying can be punished by expulsion.
Similarly, a student can be expelled for engaging in sexual harassment of another student, teacher, or administrator of a school. Under Education Code Section 48900.2, sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, visual, or physical conduct of a sexual nature that has the effect of creating a negative impact upon the student’s academic performance or to create an intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational environment.
Finding a Workable Solution
Our client had a hearing before the Administrative Hearing Panel, at which we successfully cross-examined the witnesses presented by the school. We effectively persuaded the panel that based upon the evidence presented, the student did not present a continuing danger to the physical safety of the pupil or others. Furthermore, we showed the panel that there were other means of correction that were feasible in this case. This is important because expulsion is intended to be the last resort, and we believe school districts should not jump to the most extreme punishment available before giving a student a chance to correct his or her behavior.
The hearing panel agreed and decided that the student would not be expelled from the Burbank Unified School District.
Contact the Education Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich
School disciplinary actions can have consequences that are almost as devastating as a criminal sentence. A suspension or expulsion on your child’s record can close doors to opportunities they seek later in life. If your child is facing a school disciplinary hearing, you need an attorney to help fight for their chance to continue their education. At Wallin & Klarich, we have more than 35 years of experience in helping our student clients maintain their right to stay in school. Our attorneys are always available to answer your questions and will use all of our legal skills and knowledge to help you receive the best possible outcome in your case.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, San Diego, West Covina, Torrance, and Victorville, there is an experienced and skilled Wallin & Klarich education defense attorney available to help you no matter where you are located.
Contact our offices today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free, no-obligation phone consultation. We will get through this together.