The education of our children is vital to the future success of our children and our community. The attorneys at Arnold Terrill Anzini, P.C. have handled school expulsion cases and/or related matters for children in grade school, middle school, and young men and women in high school and college. Under Indiana law, an expelled student might also lose his or her driving privileges and or the ability to obtain a drivers license, face a juvenile delinquency petition in court, along with the loss of a work permit. We represent our clients in expulsion proceedings with great care and effort. We understand the importance of education and the negative consequences that might result if a child is expelled from school.
Indiana law requires public schools to follow a specific expulsion procedure to ensure each students due process rights. A student may be suspended pending the expulsion hearing only if certain criteria are met and procedures followed. Once a school petitions to expel a student, the student might be suspended until such time that the expulsion examiner makes his or her ruling. During that time, the school is required in most circumstances to allow the student the opportunity to retrieve assignments and homework. Accordingly, the student should continue to complete his or her school work even though that student is suspended and not allowed on the school premises. In the event the expulsion examiner expels a student, the student still has the right to appeal that finding. We encourage students and their parents to contact an attorney with experience in expulsion cases to discuss the students rights and options.
Most schools set forth a specific suspension/expulsion overview within the schools handbook or code of conduct. Additionally, the code of conduct should set forth the types of prohibited conduct and the range of possible penalties for each. For example, every school prohibits fighting on school grounds or at a school function. The penalties for fighting or for battery will likely consist of a range of punishments from a one day suspension all the way to an expulsion. Additionally, if criminal activity is alleged the prosecutors office might pursue a juvenile delinquency petition. It is not unusual for a student accused of wrongdoing to face both school expulsion and juvenile delinquency proceedings. A student must understand that anything that he or she says at an expulsion hearing might be used against the student in court.
Expulsion cases often rely upon the statements from other students. The rules of evidence created to prohibit hearsay and unreliable statements from being admitted at criminal trials do not apply in expulsion proceedings. Frequently, schools will admit written statements from other students about an incident as "evidence" at an expulsion hearing. Unless requested, that witness might not even be present at the hearing and, therefore, is not subject to cross-examination. A student facing an expulsion proceeding should not expect to "talk his or her way out" of the situation. If the student has been wrongfully accused, the student should be prepared to present any and all evidence, defenses and legal arguments that support his or her defense.
We invite you to contact us to speak with an attorney about your specific situation. We do not charge you for an initial telephone consultation.