Georgia Public School Disciplinary Hearings
Atlanta-Area Juvenile Defense Lawyer for Disciplinary Tribunals
Just like any other public school system, the Georgia Public School system has the constant challenge of balancing the function of educating students with maintaining order and disciplining students when necessary. The O.C.G.A. (Official Code of Georgia, Annotated) stipulates that each school district will write and maintain a “code of conduct” or a list of rules relating to behavior and discipline. They also need to have a system in place to discipline students who violate the code of conduct.
A code of conduct overseen and enforced by teachers and school administrators forces school staff to perform functions that would normally be left to law enforcement, prosecutors, lawyers or judges. School teachers and administrators are required to have no legal training, yet we regularly depend on them to:
- Make judgements about when misconduct is a punishable violation of the code of conduct
- Investigate misconduct to determine if discipline is warranted or necessary
- Interview witnesses and other people involved to determine what happened (Since the teacher or administrator very rarely witnesses the misconduct firsthand)
- Choose and communicate the correct course of discipline, ensuring that it’s fair and consistent with similar incidents in the past.
When Teachers, Principals and other School Administrators Get it Wrong
With all respect to the hard-working school staff who make up the Georgia Public School System, when we ask staff who have no legal training to fulfil the position of police, lawyer, judge and jury, there are going to be mistakes. These mistakes can lead to very bad outcomes for the students who are involved. If you feel that an error has been made in an investigation or disciplinary situation with your child, contact Phyllis Gingrey Collins for an initial consultation. I can work with you to review what’s happened up to this point, and also build a plan for how we can resolve your child’s disciplinary situation in the best possible outcome.
Representation for Disciplinary Hearings
If your child has a disciplinary hearing scheduled, call Phyillis Gingrey Collins for a consultation. What starts as a disciplinary situation at school can turn into formal criminal charges if the school decides to refer the matter to the police. By getting an attorney involved early we can work together to get the situation under control before irreparable harm is done.
Contact me today to discuss how I can help you prepare for, and work towards the best possible outcome for your school disciplinary hearing.
To learn more about School Disciplinary Hearings, see my article about the Nuts and Bolts of a School Tribunal by clicking here.
Understanding the Tribunal Process
We start with a consultation where Phyllis will review your child’s disciplinary case and help you understand how she can help you protect your child’s best interest through the disciplinary hearing process.
The sooner you contact an attorney, they sooner we can work to preserve evidence and start preparing for the hearing. I suggest contacting an attorney as early in the process as possible
Phyllis will work to review the case and interview witnesses and other involved parties. The outcome of many cases can change because of diligent research.
There are many times that pictures from phones or screen shots of text messages can be important evidence in these hearings. We will work diligently to find any evidence that can help your student’s case.
Code of Conduct
We will perform an in-depth review of the code of conduct and any other school rules that were allegedly violated that lead to the 10 day suspension
Review of School's Case
Before the hearing, Phyllis will also conduct an in-depth review of the case against your student. We are allowed to call witnesses at the hearing and can even “subpoena” witnesses through the District Superintendent.
Phyllis will work with your student one-on-one to prepare them for the hearing. Making a good impression at the hearing and having the right answers can have a strong impact on outcome.
Hearing / Tribunal
- I will be present for the hearing and will help you and your student through the process. We will present our argument for why we believe the suspension can be avoided.