Unfair Disciplinary Proceedings and Punishment
Private schools, colleges, and universities must follow their own rules -- often stated in a Student Handbook -- when seeking to discipline a student. Often they do not.
The result can be an unfair disciplinary proceeding, expulsion, suspension, or another sanction that permanently clouds the record of the student involved, costs tuition and course credits, and leaves a student unfairly found guilty of something he or she did not do. Long-term consequences often result, such as difficulty obtaining employment or acceptance at another school and professional licensing difficulties. While virtually all schools have fair-minded faculty and administrators, there is a surprisingly high instance of school disciplinary structures that can lead to very unfair results.
Markham & Read has advised and defended many students and their parents during disciplinary proceedings, and filed court cases where appropriate, because of unfair treatment of a student in a disciplinary proceeding. In court, there is a body of law that requires schools to follow their own rules and the courts will grant relief if they do not. There are serious consequences that flow from a bad disciplinary record. Students have worked hard to obtain admission to their schools, and they or their parents have paid dearly or borrowed heavily to secure a good education. This can all be laid to waste by a bad disciplinary record. Obtaining advice if you or your child are facing such a proceeding at a school is very important and can frequently lessen or avoid
altogether a harmful result.
A safe environment
Private educational institutions must also provide a safe environment. If you or your child is being bullied or subjected to any threats or physical assaults, there are real remedies and you should consult a knowledgeable attorney about your rights.
By law, private schools are not allowed to discriminate on account of race, nationality, gender, or religion. By their own rules, by which they are legally bound, they often promise to protect the rights of gays, lesbians, and transsexuals. While many schools genuinely are committed to honoring these obligations, there are exceptions, and a student who feels that he or she is being subjected to discrimination is encouraged to seek counsel.
Markham & Read can assist in any of these situations and has done so for students over many years.