Connecticut Student Discipline Defense

Connecticut school discipline is out of control

Connecticut schools are on a crusade. They are becoming the judge, jury and executioner over students. Who is going to fight back against the Connecticut school system trying to discipline your child? Oftentimes, nobody fights harder on behalf of a child than their parent. The attorneys at Bayer & Black, P.C. try to put ourselves in this very same role for every student discipline case we take. We fight like it is our own child being targeted.  Sometimes a parent needs help and an attorney is needed to protect the child’s rights to fair play and due process of law. We recognize that anytime a parent and their child call our firm about a school disciplinary issue, it is likely one of the hardest and most trying times in both the  lives of the student and the parent. Our team of zealous advocates know this and are here to fight for you or your child as if they were part of our own family. The conduct at issue can also start with criminal charges being lodged which then results in a mandatory report to the school. The team at Bayer & Black, P.C. handles both criminal charges and school discipline.

There are graduated scales of school discipline in Connecticut. School disciplinary processes and procedures depend on what type of action the school is taking. An expulsion is obviously the most severe action a school can take. That also means that expulsions involve the highest levels of protection for an accused student. Sometimes, the school decides, in its discretion, that a student’s conduct was problematic enough to hold an expulsion hearing. In other cases, the school is actually required by state and federal law to initiate an expulsion hearing (mandatory expulsion). Due to the seriousness of an expulsion and its consequences, the school is required to provide written notice to the student and their parents before holding a hearing. In most cases the child accused of wrongful behavior also has the right to a short continuance before the hearing takes place.

An expulsion hearing itself is relatively straightforward. The part that makes it complicated is the speed with which it happens. Facts must be found, witnesses interviewed and subpoenaed, if necessary, evidence reviewed, and defense strategies developed in a very compressed time frame. Engaging an advocate immediately can be the difference between success and failure. At the hearing, members of the Board of Education, or a school-appointed hearing officer, serve as a “judge” or the “judges.” The school will be represented by an attorney who will put on evidence (like witness testimony, videos, etc.) to prove that (1) the student violated a school policy and (2) that the violation presents a serious disruption of the educational process. Accused students have the right to be represented by an attorney who can defend the student’s interests as if it were a court of law. The student has the right to cross examine the school’s witnesses, present a defense, and call witnesses on their own behalf.

Although not as severe as an expulsion, a suspension of any kind is equally difficult. A school can discipline a student through either an out-of-school or in-school suspension.  However, suspensions differ from expulsions because a student is not entitled to a formal hearing for a suspension. Instead, the student is entitled to an informal hearing where they can defend themselves against the school’s allegations.

Finally, for college students, there is an additional type of case to consider: Title IX cases. Most people who hear Title IX think about sports and the mandated equality between men’s and women’s collegiate athletics. However, Title IX applies to much more, including the growingly common instances where a college student is accused of sexual misconduct. These are serious allegations that may result in fighting both criminal charges and school disciplinary proceedings. Additionally, the school will conduct its own investigation in the case and not simply rely on whatever police report(s) may have been filed. 

All told, a Title IX case takes on the appearance of its own-mini trial. There are rules about discovery and evidence, and accused students are allowed to have an “advisor” present to assist in the case (and even question witnesses).

Whether you are a parent or the student facing discipline, consulting with an experienced defense attorney to protect your rights and interests can be the difference-maker in these cases. Our zealous team of advocates here at Bayer & Black, P.C. are here to help.

Who we are?

Kevin M. Black, Sr. is a former trial level, award winning Assistant State’s Attorney (prosecutor) for the Connecticut Division of Criminal Justice and the current Liaison to the Judicial District of Danbury for the Connecticut Criminal Defense Lawyer’s Association, as well as a Member of the Connecticut Statewide Grievance Committee overseeing attorney misconduct. Kevin M. Black, Jr. is a former Special Deputy Assistant State’s Attorney (prosecutor) with the Appellate Unit of the Connecticut Division of Criminal Justice. Both serve as approved Assigned Counsel for the Connecticut Office of the Chief Public Defender when needed. Our team vigorously litigates on behalf of our clients throughout the pretrial and trial processes by fighting suppression issues and not only taking cases to trial, but proceeding to verdict in those cases. Our clients become part of our family and when you work with us, you will see and feel the care, compassion, and dedication that we put into defending our family. Don’t settle for anything less than a firm with a proven track record of success and deep experience on both sides of the process.