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High school suspension

volleymom7volleymom7 Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
I was blindsided by my son's school today. A few girls complained he was in appropriately touching them and he received a 5 day out of school suspension. My son denies the more serious parts of the allegations but admits to friendly playing around with them like grabbing their arms or hands. We are not taking this lightly but he is a socially immature 15 y/o and this is a new school he just started and I don't think he at all realized he was doing anything inappropriate. We are taking steps with him to ensure nothing like this happens again.

I am afraid how all this will impact his future. The school director told me this would not "leave the school" but I have concerns about when he will need to apply for college. Should we fight the suspension? I think the school counselor decided he was guilty without really listening to his side of the story and the most serious allegations were he "groped" someone from behind and licked someone's hand both of which he adamantly denies doing.

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Replies to: High school suspension

  • suzy100suzy100 Registered User Posts: 4,056 Senior Member
    I think you need to get to the bottom of this, pronto. Find out exactly what your son is accused of doing, how many accusers there are, how many incidents, whether there were witnesses, etc. Then ask your son exactly what happened. This is serious. He will have to report this on college apps. I would be up at the school today asking these questions.
  • volleymom7volleymom7 Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    We were there and asked them. Basically the counselor said it started by him talking to them and then he was trying to grab their hands or arms and one girl said he "groped her" and "licked her hand". He denies touching anyone on the genitals or buttocks or licking anyone and states he wasn't trying to do anything like that. I think he thought he was being friendly and flirtatious. This is a very socially liberal school he is now attending and previously he was at the public high school and I think he was acting the same way the kids at the old school were acting but the reaction at this school was very different. He has never been accused of anything like this before and is a dancer and is constantly around girls (few boys dance).

    I'm not trying to minimize it but I don't think the response to what he did should result in a 5 day suspension when neither he nor his parents were given any indication anything was wrong. They are also basically taking the girls' words over his. He had no opportunity to correct how he was acting and was just suspended. We also had very little say in the process other than we were able to reduce it to a 3 day suspension. I have talked to the director who said she will talk to the classroom teachers where the incidents supposedly occurred and see what else she can find out. He is also going to see a counselor this week. I am worried about the college application process. Does he need to report it if the school removes it from his record?
  • CTScoutmomCTScoutmom Registered User Posts: 1,374 Senior Member
    If it's not in his record, it didn't happen. I suspect if they're willing to keep it off the record, then there are doubts about what really happened. Is this a private school? Are the families of the girls big donors, by chance? This really sounds like it was done to appease someone. If your son is removed for a few days, it's obvious there was a punishment, and the parents of the girls have no right to know whether it appears on his permanent record, thanks to FERPA.
  • volleymom7volleymom7 Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    It's a charter school. I'm asking the Director how to appeal the suspension. My kid has never been in trouble before and now he's also being harassed and threatened on social media. One student threatened to "beat his ass" when he comes back to school. I sent a screenshot of that to the school.

    The counselor was extremely unhelpful and seemed like she only wanted to hear one side of the story. The Director was more empathetic and willing to work with us. Should I go to the police regarding the physical threats or see what the school does? I'm also considering home schooling just to keep him safe.
  • bjkmombjkmom Registered User Posts: 4,356 Senior Member
    Are there, by any chance, cameras in the hallways? Ask.

    And absolutely follow up on the bullying. It's because of something that happened in school, and it's not to be accepted. Print up another copy of the screen shot, as well as the others I suspect he has received. Make an appointment with the Director, or her boss, and get to the bottom of this.

    Homeschooling won't keep him safe from the online bullying, or the threats. See first what the Director says.
  • suzy100suzy100 Registered User Posts: 4,056 Senior Member
    "If it's not in his record, it didn't happen." This is not true.

    On the Common App, there is a question which asks,
    "Have you ever been found responsible for a disciplinary violation at any educational institution you have attended from the 9th grade (or the international equivalent) forward, whether related to academic misconduct or behavioral misconduct, that resulted in a disciplinary action? These actions could include, but are not limited to: probation, suspension, removal, dismissal, or expulsion from the institution."

    The student will have to answer this truthfully.

    OP, you should definitely try to appeal the suspension. It doesn't sound like your son was given a fair hearing.
  • compmomcompmom Registered User Posts: 8,078 Senior Member
    Can he go back to the public he attended before? Why did he leave? The kids at the charter will apparently bully him over this incident, which has been validated by the school's suspension. At this point truth barely matters, socially. It will fade in time, but teenagers' perception of time is different from adults'.

    If he stays, make sure he has counseling. This kind of situation causes emotional harm and even risk for self-harm for some.

    I personally would hire a lawyer, at least for one session, to discuss this. It is very possible that if the suspension is informal so to speak, and not on the record, that he is not obligated legally (or morally) to answer yes on the common app question. I know one of my son's friends was suspended for painting a theater room (innocent mistake actually) and did not report it on the common app because the school kept it off the record.

    The trend for a few decades has been toward supporting females in this kind of situation. (Think about the Cosby case and how women were treated.) Young men can sometimes get caught up in penalties that seem unfair, particularly for someone who is immature. However, clearly your son did do something that bothered peers, and hopefully he has learned a lesson in terms of self-protection.

    I do wonder why the incident was reported. Were your son's actions awful enough to merit the report or is there something else going on? As a parent, I would want to know, but I wouldn't want to rattle the school into making the suspension official. So again I suggest at least a meeting with a lawyer who is good with education as well as sexual harassment issues.
  • younghossyounghoss Registered User Posts: 3,006 Senior Member
    edited October 10
    I'll toss out an idea. Be clear, this idea IS NOT specific to your son. In general, if a child gets in trouble and is later questioned about it, that child often minimizes the misbehavior. It is possible this kid did more wrong than he initially admitted to.
  • mamalionmamalion Registered User Posts: 649 Member
    My daughters go to private schools. Despite the cost, I felt it was important money to spend. I have been in the local public schools and seen incidents that would be actionable in a workplace or a college. An international exchange student we had was horrified by something she saw in the public HS cafeteria.

    I suspect your son was caught up in a major cultural shift. Behaviors that were accepted in his old school are forbidden in his new one. Regardless of what you do with the suspension, you will need to address issues of respect for other human beings. Grabbing hands and arms, let alone licking, is threatening and hostile.
  • momofthreeboysmomofthreeboys Registered User Posts: 15,194 Senior Member
    Unfortunately you will never know if there was an "embellishment" going on. But I agree with compmom and CTScout's mom advice. It's also a huge wake-up call for your son about what can happen these days. Personally I'd probably demand a full written record of what the allegation was, what the counselor's response was, what the director's response was and I'd probably have a lawyer make the request/demand because odds are there will be redactions and mis-statements. I would want this in my possession should it get nasty down the line and to hold everyone's feet to the fire about what was said, what was reported and by whom, what decisions were made and why. Mostly I'd be concerned about the going forward part. This type of stuff can be very destructive in the high school level with kids taking sides and lots of nastiness behind the scenes over something can often be perceived as innocuous outside academia and if the school does not handle the situation well it can just make for one awful year and moreso if it's a small school.

    As far as the reporting part, I tend to side with if it's on the record it must be reported, if it's not on the record then to not report it but that is a highly controversial topic from the black and white folks that say to report every little thing to the gray area folks who will say report what's on the transcript and if it makes you feel better, ask the lawyer.
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