School Discipline

School Disciplinary and Expulsion Proceedings

Whether you're in grade school, high school, or one of the many colleges in Boston, school disciplinary proceedings are serious matters for which you may need an attorney.

Students might find themselves facing a disciplinary hearing after violating their school's Code of Conduct (on or off campus). Violations range from academic integrity matters (such as cheating or plagiarism) to potential criminal matters (such as assault, drug, or DUI charges). School sanctions could include a transcript notation, suspension, probation, a letter of reprimand, or even expulsion. It is important to contact an attorney immediately to review your rights and options if your child’s school initiates disciplinary actions against him or her.

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Student Disciplinary Hearings

Massachusetts is home to many prestigious colleges and universities. Students at these schools can occasionally find themselves accused of committing acts that break the law, violate the student code of conduct, or both. Even if a student is facing criminal charges for an offense committed off campus, he or she could also be subject to disciplinary proceedings by his or her university or college. However, it is important to understand that the lack of criminal charges does not necessarily mean that a school will not take disciplinary actions against the student. Let our firm review your case by calling (978) 494-0272.

Overview of Student Disciplinary Hearings in Massachusetts

  • Which kinds of alleged misconduct typically result in these hearings?
  • How would an attorney help a student in these kinds of cases?
  • What are the possible consequences that a student faces?

There are several different alleged acts that may result in a high school, university or college wanting to take disciplinary measures against a student. Some of the offenses may include, but are not limited to:

  • Drunk Driving or Driving Under the Influence (DUI) of Drugs
  • Underage Possession of Alcohol
  • Possession of Fake ID
  • Traffic Offenses
  • Drug Charges
  • Marijuana Charges
  • Firearm / Weapon Charges
  • Violent Crimes
  • Domestic Violence
  • Sex Crimes
  • Property and Theft Offenses
  • Internet / Cyber Crimes
  • White Collar Crime
  • Any Other Violations of Student Code of Conduct

Role of Attorney at Student Disciplinary Hearings in Massachusetts

Most schools in Massachusetts attempt to limit the roles that lawyers play in disciplinary hearings for students. In many cases, there will be an informal hearing or conference at which the student can accept or deny the charges against him or her and possibly request a formal hearing to fight the allegations. Students have several rights during this process, including the rights to review any documents or evidence, challenge any evidence or testimony presented at a formal hearing, question witnesses who testify against the student, and call witnesses to testify on the student's behalf. Additionally, the student can also testify on his or her own behalf.

Oftentimes, however, the student can avoid a hearing or discipline by having the attorney negotiate with the school. That is why it is critical to contact an attorney as soon as possible.

Possible Punishments Resulting from Massachusetts Student Disciplinary Hearings

A student could face any one of several sanctions if the college or university finds him or her responsible for an alleged violation. Some of the possible punishments can include:

  • Warning — The school may issue a warning that is kept in the student's file but is not formally reflected in his or her transcript. While a warning may not be reported to any outside agencies, the school may consider it if the student has any future disciplinary proceedings.
  • Reprimand — Similar to a warning, a reprimand may not be reflected in a student's permanent record. However, as part of this action, the school might refer the student to complete a certain counseling or educational program. Failure to complete the program may lead to additional penalties, including the misconduct being added to the student's record.
  • Probation — A student who receives probation will generally not have the alleged misconduct added to his or her permanent record, but he or she will be ordered to be satisfy certain orders or obey certain restrictions. These may include making restitution for money damages, being prohibited from driving on campus, or inability to participate in certain athletic programs, school functions, or campus activities.
  • Suspension — Misconduct that is deemed serious enough to merit a suspension means that the student will be removed from the college or university for a set period of time. The suspension will be reflected on the student's transcripts, and he or she will have to obtain permission from the Dean's Office to re-enroll in classes. During the suspension, the student will usually not be able to take any classes at another school that can be transferred to the university or college, and he or she willneed to disclose the suspension if the student applies to any other schools.
  • Expulsion — If the college or university expels a student for the alleged misconduct, then he or she will often be permanently removed from the school. An expulsion becomes part of the student's permanent record and will be reported to all outside agencies and any other universities or colleges the student might apply to.

You have found the Best Student Disciplinary Hearing Lawyer in Massachusetts

Are you a student at a Massachusetts high school, college, or university who is facing disciplinary action by your school? You will want to immediately seek the advice of a knowledgeable education law attorney. Holly Lynch of Holly Lynch Law Firm helps students throughout Massachusetts. Call (978) 494-0272 and let our firm review your case and discuss your legal options.

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