I have contacted the supperintendant. I have spoken to the principal He was surrounded by a group of children and felt attacked when a verbal attack began on my child from another student. As my son was trying to get away he was grabbed. He pulled his arm back and turned around.This is when he realized it was the vice principal who grabbed him. The vp left bruising on his wrist. My son apologized and explained to vp that he in no way intended to disrespect and that he didnt know it was him. He at that point walked off to get on his bus.He had no reason to grab my child at all. I went as far as calling in a report with the sheriffs office. now the vp is saying my child PUSHED him and is up for expulsion. What can I do? I have been trying to find an attorney but can not find one HELP!!
I don't recommend pursuing any cause of action against the school or the vice principal. It will be enough to defeat the proposed expulsion or other serious discipline. You need counsel. There are any number of attorneys who practice school and/or education law in Florida and you need to be very aggressive in finding an attorney who can handle this on your son's behalf. Very likely a stipulated result can be negotiated. If not, there may be a mini-factual hearing. Neither of these efforts can be effectively handled without counsel. Here is a good starting point for locating and retaining skilled and experienced legal representation:
You may have a cause of action for assault and battery against the principle and the school and probably have a viable defense in the action against your son for expulsion based upon the facts you have provided. It'd likely be an uphill battle but you should certainly retain counsel. Most initial consults are free. 888-982-5111. Info@warricklaw.com.
I'm sorry that your son is in this situation, but it truly is a serious, urgent matter (which you already know).
There are two possible, separate issues (at least) in the fact pattern that you describe above:
a) Education/disciplinary matter, and;
Education/disciplinary matter: You mention that your sun is pending expulsion so I assume that he is suspended from school right now. If your son is on an IEP (Individualized Education Program) under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEIA), the District should conduct a manifestation determination hearing to determine whether the act in question was related to (a manifestation of) your son's disability. If your son is not on an IEP, the manifestation determination hearing aspect does not apply.
In any event, a disciplinary hearing typically is a very serious, complex, and potentially life-altering event. In some cases (where possible criminal charges and education discipline matters overlap), a law enforcement officer will attend the expulsion hearing to gather potential evidence. At the very least, you need to understand what to expect at the hearing and possibly consider hiring an attorney to represent your son in this matter.
Criminal matter: Similar to the expulsion proceeding, any possible criminal matter is extremely serious and carries potentially life-altering consequences. If any possible criminal case moves forward, I strongly urge you to seek the advice of an experienced juvenile criminal attorney in your area. Note: I know that you didn't mention criminal issue in your facts, but frequently, I see possible expulsion matters cross-over into possible criminal matters.
You may want to consider contacting:
The Florida Bar (the entity that licenses and regulates attorneys in Florida):
651 E. Jefferson Stre
Tallahassee, FL 32399-2300
Their website is "down" tonight for maintenance, so I'm not going to provide the website link. Ask for the attorney referral service, explain your situation, then ask for contact information in your locale for attorney(s) who focus on education-related matters.
I will also post a link to Florida's Department of Education. You may want to consider contacting that entity to see if they maintain a list of attorneys who focus on education-law related matters...many states do so.
Good luck to your family during this difficult time.
Attorneys Mccall and Warrick both make valid points given their respective areas of practice.
Ideally you will find counsel with experience in both personal injury and school law. The most pressing issue you have, though, is the expulsion hearing. Unfortunately, these "hearings" bareley resemble hearings in the judicial sense. There are no rules of evidence, discovery or proceedure other than the barest forms, of due process including the recording of the hearing then permitting everyone a time to speak. Often they are presided over by the superintendent, which in this author's opinion provides too great a risk for a lack of neutrality.
A good lawyer will place objections over these defects of due process into the record so they may be raised later. Do find your self a lawyer to be present at this meeting. I am attaching a link to COPAA the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, the lawyers in their directory are really focused on special education but are all somewhat familliar with school law in general. Hopefully it will narrow your search