Legal Question in Education Law in Massachusetts

My son was suspended from school for being in possesion of a weapon. This "weapon" was a pair of broken round tipped scissors. He was just playing with them while in home room that was being monitored by a sub. He was not talking to anyone or even holding them up to anyone. What gives them the right to call this a weapon? Do I have any leagal rights to fight them about this?

Asked on 10/13/10, 5:38 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Tom Flynn Law Offices of Thomas V. Flynn

When you are dealing with what constitutes a weapon in a public school there are a few different things you need to look at depending on the facts. There is the basic Massachusetts law which provides a definition of weapon; in other cases (especially in a special education context) there is a federal definition around weapon. You would also need to look at your school's student handbook. If it was a pair of school scissors, I would say you should try and have a logical conversation with the principal or the superintendent about a more measured response. If that doesn't work you may want to speak with an attorney. A "zero-tolerance" policy shouldn't mean zero-use of judgment - common sense should still play a role and common sense tells us that there is a difference between safety scissors and a switch-blade. Good luck!

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Answered on 12/09/10, 5:27 am

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