Legal Question in Education Law in Massachusetts

i am a 15 year old student attending Everett High School and i was recently arrested and charged with a minor felony, can they suspend me?

Asked on 10/07/10, 1:38 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

James Baron Law Office of James M. Baron

Yes. Massachusetts General Law Chapter 71, Section 37H 1/2 gives the principal the authority to suspend a student if the student has been charged with a felony. Before doing so, the principal needs to determine if the student's presence would have a "substantial detrimental effect on the general welfare of the school." The statute states in part:

"Upon the issuance of a criminal complaint charging a student with a felony... the principal or headmaster of a school in which the student is enrolled may suspend such student for a period of time determined appropriate by said principal or headmaster if said principal or headmaster determines that the student's continued presence in school would have a substantial detrimental effect on the general welfare of the school."

Note, however, that there are very specific procedures the school district must follow:

"The student shall receive written notification of the charges and the reasons for such suspension prior to such suspension taking effect. The student shall also receive written notification of his right to appeal and the process for appealing such suspension; provided, however, that such suspension shall remain in effect prior to any appeal hearing conducted by the superintendent.

The student shall have the right to appeal the suspension to the superintendent. The student shall notify the superintendent in writing of his request for an appeal no later than five calendar days following the effective date of the suspension. The superintendent shall hold a hearing with the student and the student's parent or guardian within three calendar days of the student's request for an appeal. At the hearing, the student shall have the right to present oral and written testimony on his behalf, and shall have the right to counsel. The superintendent shall have the authority to overturn or alter the decision of the principal or headmaster, including recommending an alternate educational program for the student. The superintendent shall render a decision on the appeal within five calendar days of the hearing. Such decision shall be the final decision of the city, town or regional school district with regard to the suspension."

Conviction brings this issue to an entirely different level, because if a student is convicted of a felony, the principal has the right to EXPEL the student.

I suggest that you consult with an attorney as soon as possible to protect any rights you may have under the law, and to help you address these issues.

Read more
Answered on 10/12/10, 2:20 pm

Related Questions & Answers

More Education Law questions and answers in Massachusetts