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Frederick M. Stanczak
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Frederick Stanczak’s Answers

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  • Does a school resource officer have to tell a coach and other school officials about misbehavior outside of school?

    My friend and i were driving up the road yesterday and we stopped to take a look at his possible flat tire. During the process, a police vehicle arrived and parked in front of us. They had received a call about a male and female possibly doing dru...

    Frederick’s Answer

    The first question is whether school officials can disciplinary you for something that occurred outside of school grounds. By "discipline" I'm referring to the school district's ability to impose a suspension or expulsion. The PA School Code and it's regulations limit a school district's authority to discipline students to behavior that occurs on school property, or at a school sponsored function. If there is some definite impact of off-campus behavior on the functioning of the school, that may justify discipline. The school district's rules must be published - which is typically done as a part of the student manual. This should be on the District's website if you don't have one. If the school district does not pursue expulsion (defined as any exclusion form school that is more than 10 days), that wold be a good outcome and allow you to put this incident behind you. If expulsion is pursued. I recommend that you or your parents contact an experienced education law attorney for assistance.

    Participation in athletic programs is somewhat different. Most school districts require student athletes to sign a pledge that they will not engage in alcohol consumption or drug use - whether on or off campus - as a condition for participation on the school's athletic teams. There may also be a school rule that addresses this issue. So, aside from the question of suspension or expulsion, participation in athletics is much more within the discretion of school personnel. The PA Education Law Center has very useful informatin on teh school disciplined process that you may find helpful. Their web address is: elc-pa.org.

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  • Can I finish high school living on my own?

    I am over 18, the age of majority. My family moved out of the county and I would like to finish attending my senior year at my votech. The guidance counselor mentioned in passing that I would need to be emancipated to live on my own, but everythin...

    Frederick’s Answer

    In Pennsylvania, you are treated as an adult once you reach the age of 18. For instance, your parents no longer have the legal obligation to financially support you after age 18. So, you are right that this is not a question of emancipation. For school purposes, the PA School Code creates a right to receive a free public education until you receive a high school diploma or reach age 21. Federal law even requires school districts to enroll homeless students. The bottom line is that as long as you can show that you are residing within the school district, you have a right to enroll there. If you are having problems with that, I suggest you ask to speak to a school guidance counselor and ask her or him to intervene on your behalf. You can also contact eh Pennsylvania Department of Education, which can also intervene. The PA Education Law Center website has published materials that explain your legal rights related to education. You may also benefit from contacting an education lawyer in your area and ask for a free consultation. Many lawyers offer free initial consultations and I believe many would be willing to provide you with assistance without a fee if you encounter obstacles with school enrollment.

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  • I have a question about someone speaking very embarrassing details.

    Me and a couple of my kids was at my oldest daughter school the take senior pictures, when one of the guiding counselors came to speak to me about money. There was other parents and seniors of my daughter's classmates. She would not go to the sid...

    Frederick’s Answer

    You raise an important mater of protocol and professionalism. You may consider communicating with the guidance counselor and his/her supervisor to express your concerns with how the matter was handled, and the impact it had not only on you but on your daughter. These days, educational professionals should be aware of bullying, and should be careful to avoid placing any student in a position with her peers that may subject her to bullying. While it is not likely that you have a legal claim, that is not to say that you don't have a legitimate complaint that can be pursued through the school district's administration. .

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  • How to approach a religious institution giving incorrect information/ 'hoaxing' a client?

    Incorrect information and practice by administration and teachers at a religious school leading to a dangerous situation that resulted in near four years of consequence. The school is registered as a 'college' but is run in an entirely different/ ...

    Frederick’s Answer

    Based on your description of the problem, I do not see that there is any basis for legal action against the entity you're referring to. If you're asking whether there is a civil rights claim against the school (not clear exactly what kind of institution it is), religious schools are generally exempt from most civil rights laws on the grounds that the government should not interfere with the expression of religious beliefs. However, if they defrauded students in some way, it would not be immune from suit. An attorney would need to know much more detail in order to povide you with a reliable opinion as to whether you have any legal claim. If this is an important issue to you, my suggestion is to consult with an attorney with experience in education/civil rights to discuss your concerns.

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  • How do I get the school system to follow an IEP

    have a valid IEP school will not enroll child

    Frederick’s Answer

    I agree with Ms. Young that it sounds like the issue may be enrollment and here is a requirement that the District enroll your child within 5 days, assuming that there is residency in the school district.. Because your cxhild has an IEP (I'm assuming from another school district) there are also rights under the federal and state special education laws that apply. If you are not able to resolve the issue you can contact the Pennsylvania Department of Education for assistance. Their address is: Pennsylvania Department of Education, 333 Market Street, Harrisburg, PA 17126 The special education phone line is: 717 783 6913. The Education Law Center also has very helpful materials online. You might look at: palawhelp.org/issues/education/school-enrollment-and-residency. Things get a little hectic at this time of the year so you may need to follow up with the enrollment office at the school district. Good luck!

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  • Job offer in a different state- how to relocate child

    Hello. I am currently on unemployment and received a job offer in a different state. Its more money than I made before, and I feel as though it will benefit my son and I. I checked out the local schools online and they are top rated. I would also ...

    Frederick’s Answer

    I agree with Mr. Hyde, there is a strict process for relocation of minor children in Pa custody law. The first step is to provide the other parent with written notice of your intention to relocate. The purpose of the notice is to provide the other parent with notice and with sufficient information on which to make a decision as to whether he will agree. There is a specific notice format that must be followed, so a letter will not be sufficient. I join in the recommendation that you consult with an experienced family law attorney before you take any action. The rules are not intuitive so you need legal advice specific to your circumstances in order to make decisions that will benefit you and your children. Good luck!

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  • Can I get in trouble if I keep my son home until he is properly evaluated?

    My son started kindergarten in the Wilkes-Barre school.district this year. He has been bullied, interrupted during work time, and most recently punched. He has constant anxiety going to school, he makes himself sick and won't eat his lunch. ...

    Frederick’s Answer

    I agree with Mr. Corchnoy, you should consult with an attorney who is experienced in special education law as son as possible. School districts might call social services or refer for truancy if they become frustrated with heir attempts to address the problem. Getting his doctor's support is important, but not a long term solution. You should also document the bullying incidents by following up with e-mails to school personnel when he tells you that he's been bullied. There may also be school records such as incident reports but it's not unusual for a school district to be unaware that it's happened. You definitely need help dealing with the school district.

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  • What are my options to force this on the district because of the retaliation? I already know I have nothing available under IDEA

    Due to retaliatory behaviors by my son's school after advocating for his special education needs, I want to have my children go to a different neighborhood school than their assigned one. In an attempt to settle the lawsuit, the district moved my ...

    Frederick’s Answer

    One possible solution is to ask the school district to provide transportation to one of your children. Transportation is a related service under the IDEA so your son would appear to have a valid need for it. I agree that it would be a good idea to speak to the attorney who negotiated the settlement agreement for your son to discuss this and any other options.

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  • What should I do? Should I up and leave without his permission or go to court and arrange a custody agreement?

    I am from Virginia but have lived in the state of Pennslyvania for 10 years + and my son was born here almost a year. Me and my childs father broke up and now I would like to move out of state with my child to Virginia. My family is here in PA but...

    Frederick’s Answer

    You should definitely not move without either a written agreement with the father or a decision from the family court that allows you to move with the child. Pennsylvania has a relocation statue that addresses whether one parent may move to a different location. The process begins with providing notice to the other parent to determine whether the non-moving parent agrees. If there is no agreement, it has to be decided by a judge. The factors that you mention in your question are relevant and would be presented to the Court if the matter gores to a hearing. You should consult with a family law attorney to discuss the matter.

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  • How do I go about transferring my son to a school of my choice and out of that district

    My son was going to a middle school where he fought one guy twice. The dean never did anything at all but make them talk. But my son went into a classroom to ask for his books. A girl had gotten injured. Five students in the classroom said that t...

    Frederick’s Answer

    I agree that you should contact an attorney experienced in education law immediately. Many lawyers who practice in this area will offer a free consultation. Moving out of the district to a different district will generally entitle your son to receive an education from the school district where you have established residence. Howeve, in PA, if your son has been expelled, the new district will be notified of the expulsion so that may not solve your problem. As noted, if your son has an IEP or if there is evidence that he should have been evaluated for special education eligibility and that the schol district missed it, there may be a defense to the expulsion. There may also be procedural problems with the way in which the district pursued the expulsion. However, any appeal to the Commonwealth Court to chalenge the expulsion must be filed wihin 30 days of the written expulsion decision. I strongly ecnourage you to call one fo more lawyers who specialize in this area immediately.

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