Last Updated on July 28, 2023 by Michelle Ball
By Michelle Ball, Sacramento California Expulsion, Special Education, sports/CIF, College, Education and School Attorney/Lawyer for Students since 1995
Here is how parents can mess up their interactions at a student’s school. These are examples of what not to do at meetings, near or around school, on campus, etc.
Parents have to keep themselves under control at school or things don’t go well.
Don’t Yell At School Staff
Parents yelling, screaming, or raising voices at school, at a teacher, administrator, or student is not acceptable conduct on school campuses. If a parent acts this way, don’t put it past schools to try to label that parent a “disruptive parent” and to terminate the parent’s access for 1-2 weeks, or perhaps even longer with a restraining order.
Don’t Believe Hearsay And Act On It
Although schools continuously use student hearsay to suspend or expel students, parents should not use or rely on hearsay as firm proof of something. Hearsay is basically he said she said, without witnessing something firsthand. It is never verified.
Rumors from students or parents may turn out later to be valid, but it is just not a good idea to go acting off of hearsay abruptly, or to run into the school office in a frenzy due to a rumor. This can damage a parent’s reputation at school and the parent may thereafter be viewed as “not credible.”
Don’t Dress Seductively or Inappropriately
Okay so moms should not walk on campus with super revealing low cut hot clothes. This can be inappropriate for students and school campuses and can cause a disruption with students.
Although parents cannot really have the student dress code forced upon them, parents should still try to dress appropriately. Parents should be understanding of the fact young students are present and it is not a great idea to come to school as a “hot mom” or sex symbol. This could result in restrictions from the school.
Don’t Fight With Students
Parents should not approach or interact with students in an aggressive, accusatory or hostile manner. If a student supposedly did something to a student, the proper protocol is to report it to the school office, preferably in writing, so the school can investigate the student allegations.
It is never a great idea to confront a minor on campus. Parents can be banned from school or even arrested for such activities.
Don’t Fight With Other Parents
If a parent cannot approach a student on an allegation, that does not mean they should brawl with that student’s parents. I have seen unfortunate examples of parents having fights in school parking lots, or being threatened by other parents. This is not acceptable conduct at school.
Don’t Fight With School Administrators
Similarly, no physical threats, heated arguments, or physical interactions should occur with teachers, school administrators or school staff, regardless of how ridiculous the school personnel may be acting. Keep your cool at all times.
Don’t Drive Crazily Through School Parking Lots
Sometimes parents want to express their upset or disgust with a situation by speeding away from school, or through school parking lots, or student drop off locations. No. This is dangerous and creates a dangerous environment. Students can be run over by angry parents in a huff and parents can be kicked off campus.
Don’t Make Enemies Of School Staff
Regardless of how parents may personally feel about teachers, school staff or administrators, be polite and don’t make them enemies. Parents and students should treat school staff appropriately and respectfully irregardless of differences or how stupid they may be acting. The school staff are the ones in charge on campus and at school events, and the parent is not.
Keep a friendly relationship with the school. Being reasonable and friendly often can help ease situations and get the school to work with parents when there is a problem. Being a wild disrespectful parent never helps.
Don’t Refuse To Follow School Administrators Orders
If a school administrator, security, or other persons who work at the school with authority order a parent to leave campus, follow the orders politely and sort it out later. School staff will not hesitate to call cops to have a “disruptive” parent hauled off campus in handcuffs.
Regardless of how wrong any order may be, it is best to approach it reasonably and calmly and simply follow the order until the parent can figure out what is going on and appeal any exclusion via proper channels. Getting into a heated argument over an order never works out for parents.
Don’t Think School Staff Walk On Water
Don’t put school staff above you as far as responsibility levels or smartness. Just because they work at a school, does not make them perfect, flawless, or ethical. Incompetent people get college degrees too. Child molesters work at schools sometimes too. People who discriminate can work at schools.
If parents remember this, they won’t just “trust” the school to treat students properly all the time, and will inspect how students are ACTUALLY treated by school staff.
Parents who think school officials can do no wrong often find out too late how wrong this presumption may be.
Don’t Cause a Scene
Causing a scene at school is not a good idea and can only harm things. Handle things via proper channels, and if a parent feels they are not being heard, legal counsel can approach the school to try to fix things.
Don’t Bring Weapons
Don’t Threaten Things You Cannot Follow Through On
Parents often threaten to “call my lawyer” or “sue the school!” This is not a good idea at anytime. Even if a parent has a lawyer who can assist them, call the lawyer first and approach it per the attorney’s direction. Far too many parents threaten things and don’t follow through, which harms parent credibility.
Don’t Fail To Challenge Schools When They Are Wrong
If schools are wrong, they should be challenged by the parent, and if that does not work, by an attorney, IF there is cause to do so. Many things in schools are not open to legal challenges. However, some are, and if every parent took action when schools acted improperly, the schools WOULD change for the better.
Far too few parents follow through and it means the schools can continue to act improperly day after day. For our kids and the future generations of students, schools should be challenged appropriately when needed.
Don’t Fail To Put School Communications In Writing
Important matters should be put in writing to create proof the school problem, such as improper treatment of a student, bullying, failure to follow policy, etc. occurred and was reported. A paper trail can only be created if things are written up and sent to schools. Written documents are also more likely to get school action.
When things are put in writing, they should be factual and not based on rumor, unless the fact the report is based on rumor is clear.
Student and parents rights attorney Michelle Ball can help parents communicate effectively with schools. She works as a lawyer from her Sacramento office across the state of California advocating in suspension, expulsion, parent exclusion and other matters. Michelle works in cities such as Roseville, Santa Rosa, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Berkeley, Lodi, Elk Grove and many other towns.