As a Family Member, I want to help my child get back in school.
If your child has been suspended from school, the following information will help you determine who to talk to within the school system and how to advocate for keeping your child in school. In Michigan, the ultimate authority for decision making regarding students lies within the local School Board. Ask your child's school for a copy of their Code of Student Conduct to learn what steps to take when your child is suspended. The following tips will also help you advocate for your child:
Stay calm and gather information
- Listen to your child, your instincts, and the school staff with an open mind.
- Assume positive intent.
- Treat school staff with respect, even when you don't feel respected. This might mean you need to take a calm, trusted friend with you to meetings or that you need to excuse yourself at times.
Know the Law
- Familiarize yourself with your child's rights. The Student Advocacy Center website is a great resource and has many links to other resources.
Document, Document, Document!
- Maintaining appropriate documents is crucial to advocacy. If it is not in writing, it could appear that it did not happen.
- Keep meticulous records, including notes from meetings, letters to and from the school, and school records. Keep a log of EVERY time your child is sent home from school.
- Keep a time log of phone calls and all forms of correspondence to decision makers.
- After meetings, write the school a letter or email of understanding of what occurred and what the agreed next steps are.
- Do not rely on memory and writing alone. Be creative in using photos, audio tapes, and other communication methods (Student Advocacy Center).