In School Suspensions – Parents Must Know Their Rights Or Students May Be Harmed


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Last Updated on April 29, 2021 by Michelle Ball

By Michelle Ball, California Education Attorney for Students since 1995

There is a lot of focus in schools on punishment via home suspension and school expulsion, but what about punishment that keeps the student on campus?  A frequent punishment imposed on students for alleged wrongs is the In House School Suspension or In School Suspension, aka IHSS or ISS. 
 
What Is an In House School Suspension? 
 
An In House School Suspension occurs when a student commits a suspendable act (e.g. steals something or harasses another student).  But, rather than be sent home, the student is allowed to physically remain on the school campus during the discipline.
 
 
in house school suspension

On campus school suspensions mean exclusion from regular class

Placement During the On Campus Suspension
 
During the IHSS, the student cannot attend their regular classes and may be placed in a separate classroom made for punishment or stuck in the school office. 
 
Other Names for In House School Suspensions
 
An In House School Suspension may may also be referred to as an on campus suspension, an In House Student Suspension, In School Suspension (ISS), an all day detention, or a  “supervised suspension.” 
 
Parents May Not Know Their Child Is Receiving School Discipline
 
As the on campus suspension occurs while the child remains at their elementary, middle, or high school, parents may not even be aware their child receives this type of school discipline. 
 
I suspect that frequently parents may not get proper notification from schools that a student gets an IHSS.  Students may also not come home and report that they were stuck in a school suspension classroom all day with the gym teacher.  
 
How Long Can An In House Student Suspension Go?
 
An In House Suspension can extend from one class period up to 5 days.
 
Should Parents Worry About In School Suspensions?
 

Parents often overlook on campus suspensions as “nothing to worry about” as the student gets to stay at school. And, the in house suspension does not impact anyone’s schedules. 

But, these “little” suspensions are still “suspensions” and may be permanent black marks.

student on campus suspension
Suspensions on campus are still suspensions and can cause a student to be isolated all day with school staff

In School Suspensions Remain in Student Discipline Records

As In School Suspensions are actual suspensions, they will stay in the student’s discipline record. When applying to college, the on campus student suspension must be disclosed as a suspension, regardless of being on the school campus. So, yes, parents may want to worry about these discipline marks, depending on the student’s college or other future plans.

Parents and Students Have Rights When Receiving an On Campus Suspension 
 
As these are actual student punishments, parents and students have procedural and other rights related to in school suspensions, such as:
 
1)  Right to receive telephone or in person notification at the time the on campus school suspension starts.
 

2)  Right to written notice of the In House School Suspension if it will go longer than one period (although the code does not say when the notice must be sent).

3)  Right to have an on campus suspension imposed only when “other means of correction” fail to bring about proper conduct.  However, on campus suspension will not be allowed if the student presents an “imminent danger or threat to the campus, pupils, or staff,” or if an expulsion is being pursued, California Education Code §§48900.5; 48911.1(a).

in school suspension rights
Students and parents have legal rights regarding in school suspensions
4)  Right to a pre-suspension conference.  At this conference, the student should be presented with the evidence regarding the discipline, and can defend their actions.
 
5)  Right to be notified of the “other means of correction” attempted during the suspension “hearing,”
 

6) Right to ask teachers for work, and the teachers to provide work.  If there is no work from the teachers- other work will be assigned.

7) If the IHSS was assigned by a teacher, the parents should be contacted by the teacher to set up a conference about the suspension.

On Campus Suspensions Damage Students
 
In school suspensions are not nothing.  On campus punishments are better than at-home student suspensions, and far better than expulsions.  However, in school student suspensions are still a black mark on a student’s record. 
 
On campus suspension mean loss of instruction for the student, who will be out of their regular classes.  This educational loss may be significant if the student has finals coming up or misses difficult subjects.  If the student is a special needs student, the academic losses may be much higher.
 
Parents should be aware of these sneaky on campus punishments so they can step in and help