Nine Things To Avoid At School And Four To Do


Last Updated on July 27, 2022 by Michelle Ball

By Michelle Ball, Sacramento California Expulsion, Special Education, sports/CIF, College, Education and School Attorney/Lawyer for Students since 1995

I am continuously amazed at all the issues which plague students in schools and the things which they get disciplined for daily.  I also find that parents too often “trust” the schools to do the right thing until the day the student ends up in the school office.    

As such, I thought I would make a list of some of my top things students and parents should NOT do.  This is certainly not an exhaustive list, but contains items which sometimes get overlooked.  Frankly, I could probably list 100 or more “do nots,” but 9 seemed enough for the day. 

Things to NOT DO:

1)  Students should try NOT forget a pocket knife in a pocket after weekend activities, throw the same pants on, and bring the knife to school.  Can you say “expulsion recommendation?”

Schools will punish students
Students need to be guided on common mistakes which can lead to big issues in schools.

2)  Students should not throw items which are dangerous or improper into a school backpack “just for the weekend.”  Inevitably these things get forgotten and brought to school.  Only bad things happen after that. School backpacks should ONLY be used for school stuff.

3)  Despite students’ free speech rights, they need to be careful of what they say or draw at school or in cyberspace while a student.  With all the terrible school shootings, schools are hyper-vigilant about “hit lists” and art which may depict people getting injured at school.  

4)  Do NOT count on the schools to “do the right thing.”  No, that expulsion panel will not “see it your way” or “be reasonable.”  Expect the worst and prepare for it.

5)  Do NOT NOT NOT trust the school to be the sole educator of your child.  Parents need to pick up a lot of slack or the student may get left behind in their education and even labelled “learning disabled” or put on special education due to being behind. 

6)  Do NOT “label” a student with a psychiatric condition or disability just because the school says you have to or punishes them constantly.  I have seen energetic 5 year old students suspended repeatedly and parents who felt forced to “label” them with a psychiatric disease to keep them in school. These labels have long term consequences, often negative, for students.

7)  Do NOT allow students to give verbal or written statements (usually requested during investigations) to the school.  Anything a student says showing they did something wrong WILL be used against them.  Teach students to reply politely asking that you, the parent, be called first.

8)  Do NOT let students get chummy with school personnel.  No, a student’s teacher should not be taking a student for pizza, having a student over for movies, or otherwise having private interactions with them. It is quite easy to have inappropriate communications with students with social media today.

9)  Do NOT put a student’s education on auto pilot. 

Students need protection
Schools hold a lot of influence over kids- make sure that you protect them.

Things TO DO

1) Know your options when it comes to students and their education.  Explore placements other than just the public schools, such as charter schools, independent study, private home schools, and other school options for your child. Their education is key to their future success and you, the parent, are responsible.  Students are in school a short time.  Be sure to make the most of it, and of them.

2) Learn all the rules so you can keep the schools in line.

3) Be alert.

4) Keep students safe. They need their parents to protect them from all the garbage which goes on in the schools, period. Keep them safe from bullies, predators and bad influences if possible….

Student lawyer and parent attorney and advocate, Michelle Ball, helps resolve student education issues across California, in places such as Sacramento, Natomas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Elk Grove, Auburn, Roseville, Foresthill, Salinas, Fairfield, Suisun City, Galt, Lodi and all other California locations.