Childhood discipline can haunt kids later in their education.

There are many school disciplinary actions inflicted upon students without giving parents any kind of say-so in the matter. It is a common occurrence for schools to fail to inform parents that their child received a detention or a referral. If the infraction was more serious such as a suspension, it is common practice for schools to provide parents with a suspension form, citing the “school code” that was violated. Students can be suspended without any explanation or the courtesy of having school admin communicate with the parents to provide facts or information about the incident. It is also common for schools to enforce “in-house” suspensions without informing the parent.

If a student receives school discipline, even as small as a detention or referral, the record of the discipline usually stays in their student records through their school years, and sometimes beyond. This means an offense in elementary school can be used against your child until they graduate high school.

It is therefore really important for parents to be very aware about what is in their child’s records, and to reply to all student discipline with facts that explain your child’s side of the story or data showing the school’s allegations are false.

These discipline infractions in your child’s cumulative file can become problematic if your child should commit a suspendable or expellable offense later. The administration will pull up your child’s discipline history and use it against them at an expulsion hearing or can influence a decision to suspend your child. School administrators can use these records as evidence to show the student is “bad” or a “troublemaker.”

So, a student with a long list of school infractions, detentions, suspensions, etc. who is up for expulsion, will have a very difficult case with making the argument they are a “good” student and alternatives to school expulsion could work for them because the vice principal or expulsion panel will be focusing on the long list of discipline infractions shown in the record.

But if a student is later facing an expulsion hearing sometime in the future, if the parent responded to each discipline incident with a well-reasoned explanation in the student records, you have legal evidence in the file that will help you make your argument to protect your child.

Most Parents Don’t Know About or Exercise the Right to Respond to Student Discipline.

Parents’ legal right to respond to student discipline and Education Code 49072 are not often exercised because most parents are not aware of this right.

Parents often think they are just stuck with whatever discipline a school chooses to inflict upon their child and have no power in what the school decides to do. Not true.

We all know that schools and administrators can write inaccurate statements, do investigations that are skewed or may even fail to investigate at all, and rely on “he said she said” from students. As such, the student discipline statements, or forms schools develop can be very false or may represent only half of the truth.

Parents Have The Right to Respond to Student Discipline.

California legislators wrote a law to endow parents with the right to respond to student discipline and add documents to student educational records without having to go through a hearing first. This parent right gives you recourse to combat schools that may put things in discipline records that are false or based upon “he said she said” without corroborating evidence or a sufficient investigation.

Per California Education Code section 49072:

Whenever there is included in any pupil record information concerning any disciplinary action taken by school district personnel in connection with the pupil, the school district maintaining such record or records shall allow the pupil’s parent to include in such pupil record a written statement or response concerning the disciplinary action.

This is a law basically ordering schools to allow parents to respond to student discipline and add to school records.

If you aren’t in California, find out if your state has a similar Ed Code. IDEA, which is Federal Law, cites 300.618 Amendment of records at the parent’s request.

  1. A parent who believes that information in the education records collected, maintained, or used under this part is inaccurate or misleading or violates the privacy or other rights of the child may request the participating agency that maintains the information to amend the information.
  2. The agency must decide whether to amend the information in accordance with the request within a reasonable period of time of receipt of the request.
  3. If the agency decides to refuse to amend the information in accordance with the request, it must inform the parent of the refusal and advise the parent of the right to a hearing under §300.619.
Nevertheless, in every state, parents have the right to review records and respond to each discipline infraction and disciplinary action taken by the school against their child and have their response included in their child’s cumulative file.

How to Exercise the Parent’s Right to Respond to Student Discipline.

In writing, parents can request to receive any and all referrals, detentions, behavior incidents, and respond to student discipline as it comes out. To address past infractions, in writing, parents should request all student records and then file responses to each student discipline offense.

After a response is sent to the school, parents should follow up to ensure that the statement was actually filed in the student’s records.

What If a School Won’t Insert a Parent Statement?

If a school refuses to add a parent response to a student’s records, parents can print out and bring Section 49072 to the school administrator and argue their legal rights.

Under parent participation rights, every state should include a parent letter in the student’s cumulative file.

If that does not end the debate, parents can write a compliance complaint or hire an advocate or attorney. However, hopefully, showing the school the law will end the denial.

Cheering you on always!


If you haven’t joined our Private Special Education Parent Empowerment Facebook Group yet, you should check it out here.
Here’s what parents are saying about the group:

“Please keep blowing the whistle Valerie! So many children are being deprived of an education because of all the corruption and lies being told to parents. We pay our taxes like everyone else, which can be interpreted as our children have the same rights as any other child.” ~ Maria

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