Many high schools have broad disciplinary codes that govern student behavior on, and sometimes off, campus. While it's easy to understand how a school can regulate behavior during the school day, and even for after-school programs such as team practices and play rehearsals, students sometimes forget that the long arm of the school disciplinary code can extend off-campus to athletic events like football, soccer, and other types of games.
For many students, a school sporting event is a great opportunity to socialize with friends while sharing a common interest in cheering their team on. The setting is relaxed, generally lightly supervised, and encourages talking, yelling, and generally behaving in a way that is very unlike what's expected of them Monday through Friday during the school day. The relaxed setting, however, can sometimes lead to misbehavior.
A Trap for the Unwary?
The amount of mischief a typical high school student can get up to at a sports event outside of the school setting should not be underestimated. Underage alcohol or cannabis consumption, cigarette smoking, bullying, physical confrontations with the opposing school's fans, use of racial epithets, sexual misconduct, petty theft, vandalism… the list can go on. And while this isn't meant to scare parents into keeping their kids home from school sports events – most kids, after all, will generally behave properly in these settings – the fact remains that some students will nonetheless violate the school disciplinary code from time to time. It's important to understand that when this happens, the students may face a school disciplinary proceeding on Monday for their out-of-school actions over the past weekend.
Understand Your School's Disciplinary Code
One way to reduce the potential for misbehavior and a resulting school disciplinary proceeding is for the student to have a good understanding of what the school's disciplinary code covers and does not cover and where it applies and does not apply. Does the school disciplinary code specifically state that it applies to school athletic events or other outside activities? Are there parts of the code that only apply to in-school behavior (the dress code, for example) and others that apply to outside school activities as well (a prohibition against alcohol and recreational drug consumption, for example)? At a minimum, taking some time to go over the school disciplinary code with the student will help make the student aware of the kinds of behavior that can result in a disciplinary proceeding both on and off campus.
If Accused of a Disciplinary Code Violation, Seek Legal Advice
The rules applicable to school disciplinary proceedings vary widely and are usually very unlike the rules that apply to criminal cases in the ‘real world.' Even school officials in charge of disciplining students sometimes misunderstand and misapply the rules, which can have a devastating effect on a student's record. Joseph D. Lento has advised many high school students accused of discipline code violations all over the United States. He understands how disciplinary codes operate and how the proceedings can sometimes violate very fundamental student rights. Mr. Lento is skilled at negotiating with student discipline officials and attorneys and can often help defuse a disciplinary situation and turn what could have been a serious infraction on the student's permanent record into something much less severe to the ultimate benefit of both the student and the school.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm Can Help
If your student is facing school disciplinary proceedings because of something they were accused of doing, whether at a school extracurricular event or otherwise, contact Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 or through our online contact form. We are here to listen and to help.