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Suspension during school investigation


Brooke

Question

The school called me yesterday just after dismissal saying my 8th grade son was in a fight. There is no school for the rest of the week for Thanksgiving break. They told me he can’t come to school Monday because they need to investigate, but they’re coding it as an excused absence not a suspension. I said that legally if they’re telling me my son can’t come to school, then that’s a suspension. My son says that the other child approached him following a school assembly and punched him many times. My son says that he did nothing to provoke it. It doesn’t seem right that the school has told him not to come to school since they don’t know if he did anything wrong, but I’m not sure I want to get into an argument about it. Do you think it’s ok to leave it as is? Do I need to do anything? My son has an IEP for educational autism. It’s definitely possible that this other child was angry with my son and he did not know it. He misses social cues and sometimes doesn’t know people are upset, but I don’t think he had even had any interactions with this other child. 

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School attendance laws vary a lot from state to state.  I would see if this is OK per you state's laws.  I'm in PA and I know the school nurse can excuse an absence if a student is sick.  If they do end up suspending your child, I would want Monday to count toward the suspension.  I would ask the school to document what they said during the call since a phone call isn't tangible proof the school said for him to stay home & the absence will be excused.  This can be done with an email:

Dear School-

I'm looking to confirm the call from (school administrator) that I received on Tuesday requesting that I keep my son, XX, home on Monday, 11/27, so the school can investigate a fight of some sort that happened on Tuesday.  I was told this will an excused absence but I thought that could only happen for medical reasons.  I don't want keeping him home like (school administrator) requested to turn into a truancy issue since I only have a call as proof that the absence will be excused.

If I have understood things correctly, there is no need to reply to this email.

Thank you,

There is a saying in schools:  If it's not in writing, it didn't happen.  This email puts things into writing.

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