Why You Need an Attorney for Public Education Punishments in Utah

As summer comes to a close, students throughout Utah are packing their bags every morning and heading to school. While classes, homework, and extracurricular activities are ramping up, so are the number of students getting in trouble with the law.

In the 2017-2018 year, more than 12,000 Utah students received an out-of-school suspension, and more than 1,000 were expelled.

If your child ever faces one of these consequences, it’s not the end of the world. Most parents don’t realize a good lawyer can be a big help throughout the disciplinary process.

School Districts Have Due Process

Let’s say you have a son who takes a knife to school. He had no intention of hurting anyone, and simply loves wood carving and left his knife in his bag after finishing a project. In class, he rummages through his bag, and the knife just happens to fall out. 

The school sees this as a dangerous weapon–and for good reason. Having one on school premises is a class B misdemeanor for an adult. Since your son is under 18, he has to go through the juvenile legal system. He also faces two weeks of suspension and possible expulsion.

Fortunately, your son has a chance, even when it comes to school discipline. Utah law requires that school districts establish written procedures that give students the right to due process if they are facing suspension or expulsion. 

In other words, your son has the right to challenge the punishment and explain to the administrators that it was all an accident.

How Due Process Works

Every school district has different ways of handling due process. If your son is in the Salt Lake City School District, there are two possible tiers

The first is called minimal due process. This is for students who are facing less than 10 days of suspension. Through this procedure, the student hears the school’s side of the story, and the school hears the student’s

The other type, formal due process, is what your son would face as a result of bringing a knife to school. This form of due process is for students who are either facing suspension of more than 10 days or expulsion. The process is similar, except you are given three written notices — the reasons for the suspension, the option to have family intake and school consequences meetings, and the right to appeal the decision.

Where an Attorney Can Help

While it may sound easy to explain what happened, navigating what your child should and should not say can be a minefield. 

In the knife scenario, your son might insert unnecessary details into his account. He may elaborate too much on the weapon or how it ended up in his bag. He might also answer a loaded question about how he doesn’t like some kids at school. These may seem like little details, but they can easily escalate and paint your son in a negative light.

A good attorney can help you and your child understand the process and navigate through that minefield. They can guide him in sharing the story to administrators in a way that protects him from unnecessary consequences. 

How Brown, Bradshaw & Moffat Can Help

The attorneys at Brown, Bradshaw & Moffat are criminal attorneys, but they can represent your child for school discipline as well if the student is accused of committing a crime on campus. These lawyers are well-versed in policies from the Salt Lake City School District, Murray School District, Granite School District, Jordan School District, and Canyons School District.

If your child is in one of those districts and is facing punishment from both the school and legal systems, the lawyers at Brown, Bradshaw & Moffat would love to help you out. For a free consultation, call (801) 532-5297.



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