YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO YOUR EDUCATION
Our education defense practice is about defending students who are accused of violating the school or university’s rules. The sanction type we are involved in is suspensions and expulsions from schools and universities in Western Washington. We regularly go into schools and universities to fight suspensions and expulsions. We call this practice education defense because what is at stake is a student’s education. Education is critical to careers and opportunities in life. We believe defending a student’s education is critical work and we are two of very few attorneys who regularly and consistently go into the schools and universities to defend students.
School educators are not lawyers. School educators are not trained investigators. Yet, they often receive incomplete complaints and make decisions without knowing all the facts and then take action against students that isn’t in compliance with the law and doesn’t observe a student’s rights. As lawyers we have been trained to read, understand and apply rules. As we enter into courts of law to defend people who have been criminally charged, we know what a complete investigation into wrongdoing often looks like. We rarely if ever see fair investigation and application of the rules in educational institutions. While a school or university may be satisfied with a superficial investigation and application of the rules, our student clients need not be.
School educators and conduct officers have not received the training as investigators or lawyers and their job is different. Their focus is on the “promoting accountability” (University of Washington) or a proper learning environment for other students. Our focus is different. Our focus is 100% on the student and his/her right to an education and a future.
In very few instances isa student’s alleged misconduct truly disruptive to the school learning environment overall and yet students may receive an “emergency expulsion.” At the university level a student’s isolated alleged violation of the student conduct code rarely truly compromises the safety of the campus or the academic environment, but the university standards are designed to promote “accountability” and the welfare of the overall academic community. The interests of the school are focused on the larger school or university environment and not on the individual student’s future. “Accountability” is another way of saying “sanction.” We believe schools and universities are frequently sanction oriented and, to our surprise, can be more punitive that courts of law.
School officials may act in a friendly and even concerned manner to parents or students. When a student’s educational career is on the line, yet trust should not be placed in outward appearances. We look beyond interpersonal niceties to the facts and bottom line. What is alleged, what is actually happening to our student client and what isat stake.
We also know to keep a close eye on law enforcement presence. Often student conduct code violations can also be charged as acts and are being independently investigated. We know what to look for and to tailor our advocacy in a protective and strategic manner. We frequently handle cases that are happening both in the school or university and also at the criminal level. We know both arenas and how to work them.
We believe it’s vital to contact an education law attorney that knows criminal defense and school discipline to ensure total protection and advocacy in all arenas.
WE CAN PROTECT A STUDENT’S RIGHTS TO A FAIR HEARING AND AN EDUCATION
We have many years of experience helping students to protect their rights to an education. With our knowledge of the law and how to interface with school and university officials, we can ensure that the rules on suspensions and expulsions are properly followed and that the student’s education remains in place. Through our own investigations we uncover the gaps or improper actions taken by schools that can ultimately overturn disciplinary decisions. In fact, we have had many discipline decisions against students dismissed following a full contested hearing or appeal process. We’ve taken cases all the way to the highest level of appeal (UW president or school district boards) in order to restore our client’s education.
SCHOOL AND UNIVERSITY DISCIPLINE DECISIONS AND TIMELINES CAN MOVE VERY QUICKLY.
Decisions and appeal requests must be turned around in only a few hours or days. To avoid losing important appeal rights, a student should act quickly.
To find out more about how we can help to safeguard your education or your child’s education, CALL US at (206) 933-2414