If you have recently learned that your child stands accused of academic misconduct at their Louisiana high school, your entire family might feel confused and even scared. After all, you've spent years working hard to make sure that your high school student has every opportunity available to them. Now, with one alleged incident, it may feel like all of your hopes and dreams for your child are about to come crashing to the ground.
You likely have several questions. What happens next? What punishments will your child face? What can you do now to protect them?
Fortunately, there are steps that you can take to help guide your student through their high school academic misconduct case to a favorable outcome. Louisiana high schools take academic misconduct seriously, and there's a lot at stake for your student. However, by working with a clever, capable LA student defense advisor, you can navigate due process and set your child up for success - starting right now.
What is Academic Misconduct in Louisiana High Schools?
The first thing you may naturally wonder after you find out that your student faces academic misconduct allegations is simple: What is academic misconduct?
‘Academic misconduct' is an umbrella term that many schools use to describe inappropriate behavior that gives your student an unfair advantage over their peers in an academic setting, distracts other students from their educational experiences, or any other action that your school considers unhelpful while on campus.
It's a vague term. To help elucidate precisely what your school considers punishable as academic misconduct, it's a good idea to check out your child's student handbook or your high school's posted code of conduct. You can likely find links to either of these documents on your school's website.
For example, according to one Louisiana high school's code of conduct, the most common forms of punishable academic misconduct include plagiarism, disruptive behavior, abuse of school resources, and cheating.
Each of these examples of misconduct has further definitions, as follows:
- Plagiarism involves any use of another person's body of work without proper citation. Importantly, accidental plagiarism is still punishable - and unintentional plagiarism is very easy to commit. It's therefore vital that you teach your student about the importance of proper citations and resource sections for their school assignments.
- Cheating is another broad category of unapproved actions that involve any instance in which a student gives themselves an illicit disadvantage over their peers; For example, using a cheat sheet during an exam, or taking more time than allotted for a specific assignment
- Unauthorized Group Work: Giving or receiving unauthorized aid during an examination or assignment, such as trading examinations, whispering answers, and passing notes, and using electronic devices to transmit or receive information.
- Disruptive Behavior generally consists of actions that teachers do not appreciate in their classrooms, ranging from the use of cell phones while in class to irrelevant questions, shouting, causing a scene, and more
- Abusing School Resources is problematic for two reasons: Firstly, whether your student lost, stole, or damaged school property, that caused your school financial harm; and, secondly, damaging a resource may make it more difficult for another student to use that resource for their educational experience
There is a wide range of actions that are punishable as academic misconduct. To get a good idea of your school's specific expectations, refer to your school's posted policies.
What Happens After Academic Misconduct in Louisiana High Schools?
According to the Louisiana legislature, teachers have the right to “hold every student to a strict accountability for disorderly conduct in school.” If a teacher suspects that a student is guilty of academic misconduct, that teacher can take immediate action for small to moderate instances of academic misconduct.
For higher-level allegations of academic misconduct, the administration of the school may get involved. Your specific school's due process methods and policies will be in your student's code of conduct.
Perusing the processes listed in one Louisiana school's documents reveals that you could expect a meeting with school administrators, an investigation into the allegation of academic misconduct, and even a hearing before the school board.
After some combination of these events, your school will come to a decision regarding your student's guilt and provide recommendations for restorative or punitive measures.
LA High Schools and the Penalties for Academic Misconduct
Typical penalties for academic misconduct in Louisiana high schools may include:
- A note on your child's permanent record
- A meeting with school administration
- Removal of the student from the school environment
- Referral to external law enforcement
- In-school or out-of-school suspension
- Community service
- A comprehensive re-education regarding the illicit behavior in question (e.g., plagiarism)
- Parent-teacher communication
This list of potential repercussions may seem like a lot. It is. However, it is far from exhaustive when it comes to the longer-term consequences your child may face. If your child has a record of academic misconduct in their permanent file, they could have a much more difficult time than necessary when it comes to future scholarship applications and further schooling opportunities.
Unfortunately, your child could even suffer later due to this one incident when it comes to finding their dream job or beginning their career.
You need to work today to make sure that doesn't happen. By hiring a smart, skilled legal advisor to assist you and your child during an academic misconduct case, you're taking the best step possible for your child's future. Whether you're in East Baton Rouge, Orleans, or St. Tammany, you're always just one click or phone call away from the benefits of an experienced legal team.
LA's Go-To High School Student Defense Expert Ready to Help You
If you feel like you need expert help and guidance as you make your way through your child's academic misconduct case, we have good news - you're in the right place. At the Lento Law Firm, we provide reliable, empathetic experience and aggressive representation for your student's defense. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm have spent years fighting for students' rights across the nation, supporting children with their academic misconduct defense through investigations, adjudicative hearings, and more. When you need to be sure you're protecting your child's future in the best way possible, work with Joseph D. Lento and his team of experts. To learn more about student defense in Louisiana, contact the Lento Law Firm online or call 888-535-3686 today.
Louisiana high schools where Joseph D. Lento can help as your child's student's academic misconduct advisor during investigations, hearings and appeals include, but are not limited to, the following school districts:
- Acadia Parish Schools
- Allen Parish School Board
- Ascension Parish Schools
- Assumption Parish School Board
- Avoyelles Parish School Board
- Avoyelles Public Charter School-Agency
- Beauregard Parish School Board
- Belle Chasse Academy Inc.-Agency
- Bienville Parish School Board
- Bossier Parish Schools
- Caddo Parish Public Schools
- Calcasieu Parish Public Schools
- Caldwell Parish School Board
- Cameron Parish School Board
- Catahoula Parish School Board
- Central Community School System
- City of Baker School System
- City of Bogalusa School Board
- City of Monroe School Board
- Claiborne Parish School Board
- Concordia Parish School Board
- DeSoto School Board
- East Baton Rouge Arts and Technology School-Agency
- East Baton Rouge Parish School System
- East Carroll Parish School Board
- East Feliciana Parish School Board
- Evangeline Parish School Board
- Franklin Parish School Board
- Grant Parish School Board
- Iberia Parish School System
- Jackson Parish School Board
- Jefferson Davis Parish School Board
- Jefferson Parish Public School System
- Lafayette Parish School System
- Lafourche Parish School District
- LaSalle Parish School Board
- Lincoln Parish School Board
- Livingston Parish Public Schools
- Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts
- Louisiana School for the Deaf
- Louisiana School for the Visually Impaired
- Madison Parish School Board
- Morehouse Parish School Board
- Natchitoches Parish School Board
- New Orleans Center for Creative Arts-Agency
- New Orleans Public Schools
- Orleans Parish School Board
- Ouachita Parish School System
- Plaquemines Parish School Board
- Pointe Coupee Parish School Board
- Rapides Parish School System
- Recovery School District
- Red River Parish School Board
- Richland Parish School Board
- Sabine Parish School Board
- Saint Bernard Parish School Board
- Charles Parish Public Schools
- Saint Helena Parish School Board
- Saint James Parish School Board
- Saint John the Baptist Parish School Board
- Saint Landry Parish School Board
- Saint Martin Parish School Board
- Mary Parish Schools
- Tammany Parish Public Schools
- Southern University Laboratory School
- Tangipahoa Parish School System
- Tensas Parish School Board
- Terrebonne Parish School District
- Union Parish School Board
- Vermilion Parish Schools
- Vernon Parish School District
- Virgil Browne Glencoe Charter School-Agency
- Washington Parish School Board
- Webster Parish School Board
- West Baton Rouge Parish School Board
- West Carroll Parish School Board
- West Feliciana Parish School Board
- Winn Parish School Board
- Zachary Community School District
It is critical to make certain academic misconduct charges at your child's Louisiana high school are handled properly and that the accused student's interests and rights are protected from as early as possible during the investigative and disciplinary process. One reason, among many, is because even at high schools where a finding of responsibility for academic misconduct is made at a hearing, the investigation will set the stage for what the hearing panel is provided prior to a hearing (and what the hearing panel will in large part rely on at a hearing), and at high schools where the finding of responsibility is made solely through the investigative process, what takes place during the investigation itself will determine whether the accused student is found responsible or not responsible for academic misconduct.
Unfortunately, some parents make the mistake of not taking the necessary precautions as soon as possible when their child is accused of academic misconduct. Some people will mistakenly believe that if they "just explain what happened," their school will be fair and impartial and will arrive at the truth. In a perfect world this may be the case, but in a perfect world, being called to answer for alleged academic misconduct would not exist.
Fighting passionately for the future of his clients at schools throughout the nation for many years, Joseph D. Lento knows how important it is to mount the strongest defense because he understands that an accused high school student's academic future is on the line. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. Joseph Lento is a licensed attorney in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, is admitted as an attorney pro hac vice in state and federal court if needed when representing clients nationwide, and serves as an academic misconduct advisor to high school students facing investigations and disciplinary cases in Louisiana and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Contact National High School Academic Misconduct Defense Attorney Joseph D. Lento today at 888-535-3686.