If your child is facing suspension or other school punishment, you’ll want to know how the process will work, who will make the decisions, and what rights your child will have during the proceedings.
The answers to those questions will often depend on where you live. State laws and regulations set the basic rules for disciplinary proceedings in public K-12 schools. Local school districts also have disciplinary policies (which may include things not covered under state law). At the beginning of each academic year, most schools distribute handbooks that explain the rules of conduct. You can request copies of the policies and rules at the local district office or your child’s school. (You might also be able get them online.)
(To learn more about the rules in your state, see this search tool for school discipline laws and regulations by state.)
In addition, some federal laws concern student discipline, including:
- the Gun-Free Schools Act, part of which requires that students be expelled for at least a year if they bring a gun to school, and
- the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which sets limits on some types of discipline for behavior that results from a student’s disability.
Finally, federal and state court decisions have addressed some important issues related school discipline, especially students’ rights during disciplinary proceedings.
Go to main school discipline FAQ page.