Last Updated on March 18, 2021 by Michelle Ball
By Michelle Ball, California Education Attorney for Students since 1995
Schools may question students to investigate bullying at school, ask about fights a student has seen, or inquire about something the student may have done at school. However, such a school investigation can end up in a student revealing something that is held against them. How do we prevent student confessions that later end up getting them suspended and even expelled? We educate our kids to respectfully decline to make a statement.
The problem is that kids usually feel a sense of obligation to “tell all” to authority figures. Unfortunately, when they “tell all” to a school official and that “all” involves e.g. potential sexual harassment, threats, fights, disruption, etc., they are not hailed for their honesty, they are kicked out!
Most kids will probably be questioned at some point in their long school careers. Parents can arm them in advance by instructing them as follows:
When a parent thereafter arrives, they can talk to the school personnel without the student in the room. Then, if it turns out the school is accusing the child of e.g. selling drugs, the parent can refuse the interview.
As an attorney for students, you don’t know how many times I have shaken my head when I saw a student’s written or verbal confession being used against them. I have also seen expulsions crumble without a student confession.
Why do the school officials’ jobs for them? If the school wants to expel your kid, don’t make their job any easier by handing them a confession. Make them work for it.
Education Attorney for Students
LAW OFFICE OF MICHELLE BALL
717 K Street, Suite 228
Sacramento, CA 95814
Please see my disclaimer. This is legal information, not legal advice and no attorney-client relationship is formed by this posting. This blog may not be reproduced without permission from the author and proper attribution of authorship. This blog may not reflect the current state of the law.