How to Handle Teen School Expulsion
If you have just been notified your teen is going to be expelled from school it can be extremely upsetting. Although your child may not realize (at the time) the importance of their education, as parents we immediately start to worry about their future and how this expulsion will affect their life.
Although school expulsion is a serious matter, it doesn’t permanently end your teen’s future opportunities. Parents need to learn more about why their child is being expelled as soon as possible so they are able to provide the needed support to advocate for their teen.
What are some reasons teen’s are expelled from school:
- Being deliberately disobedient or disorderly,
- Being violent,
- Having a gun or dangerous weapon on school grounds,
- Hurting or threatening to hurt someone with a dangerous weapon,
- Having drugs (possessing, selling, or giving away), or.
- Otherwise violating a school’s code of conduct rules.
Since expulsion is the most serious disciplinary action that a school can take, it is seen as a last resort punishment by the school.
The federal Gun-Free Schools Act says any student who brings a gun to school must be expelled for a minimum of one full year. Many states have laws requiring expulsion for bringing other weapons, such as knives, to school. Bringing, selling, or using drugs at school may also lead to expulsion, depending on the state.
Many schools will also expel students for repeated dangerous behaviors, like bullying or fighting. They may have rules that a certain number of school suspensions will automatically lead to expulsion, regardless of the type of behaviors that are repeated.
What can parents do:
As your teen’s advocate, although you may be upset, it’s time to learn as much as you can about why he/she is facing expulsion. Take the time to learn your states schools disciplinary laws and regulations.
It’s very important to remain calm and to listen to both sides of the story.
Is there a red flag that your teen needs emotional or behavioral support? Was the incident related to a problem your teen is experiencing, maybe he/she was fighting (being bullied or is the bully), using drugs or drinking, or struggling emotionally and requires extra help?
If there aren’t legal issues pending, you may want to ask to withdraw your teen from school prior the expulsion.
If they are in private school, many will accommodate you, and hopefully your public school will too. In Florida there is a public school withdrawal form. Whatever state you’re located in likely has the same form.
By withdrawing your teen from school it eliminates an expulsion on their transcript.
Your teen is expelled:
If you have attempted to withdraw your child, went through the disciplinary hearing and the conclusion is your teen is expelled from their school, now you have to review your options.
In some cases they will give you local alternative schools he/she can attend and there is always online (virtual) school. Read the terms of your teen’s expulsion, some of them have term limits. He/she might be able to return after a year.
Teens that are struggling with mental health issues, substance use or other behavioral challenges, you may want to consider a teen help program. If you have exhausted your local resources, they’re refusing to attend school or seek help — residential treatment can be an answer.
Learn more about how these programs benefit troubled teens. Contact us for more information.
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