Sometimes when teenagers go off to college ready to begin the next stage of their academic life, the transition can have bumps in the road. It's a new world without your parents, and now you're an "adult" with the youthful feeling of invincibility. Yet, the moment you get accused of violating a school's code of conduct, you may feel that you can handle it all yourself, and your parents need not know about the trouble you're in.
Is it Possible to Hide From Your Parents?
It might be possible to hide charges of misconduct from your parents, but it's not a good idea. They could lead to long-term consequences and derail your ability to apply for jobs, professional licenses, or graduate programs. Parents will ask questions, and you'll have to backtrack to the situation and leave them wondering why you didn't tell them in the first place. The consequences are too great, and they have too much invested, to keep them in the dark.
What Happens if You're Accused of Misconduct?
Every school has a different procedure for handling misconduct. The school may ask you to schedule a meeting to discuss the charge or issue a letter asking you to either admit or deny whether you've violated the school's code of conduct. Depending on the severity of the offense, the school may conduct a formal investigation, which could lead to a disciplinary hearing.
Since the process differs among colleges and universities, it's imperative for you to review your school's code of conduct to determine the process that will apply to your situation. You can typically find the information on your school's website or acquire a printed copy of the code of conduct at the college or university's Division of Student Affairs.
You can get a head start defending yourself against misconduct charges with three simple things:
- Remaining silent
- Saving all paperwork
- Contacting an attorney immediately
Why Should You Hire an Attorney?
Many students believe (or the school administration may attempt to convince them) that students don't need attorneys to defend them against misconduct charges because the school's disciplinary process isn't a court of law. The simple question you need to ask yourself is - "Is something at stake?" If something is at stake, you need an attorney.
You should not be misguided by the school or others, even if the advice you receive may seem well-intended, because when facing misconduct allegations of any kind at school, your academic and professional career are most certainly at risk. The school is conducting an investigation to assess if the student violated the school's code of conduct and a corresponding punishment will be imposed if found responsible. Some colleges offer an appeals process, though not all do.
Some schools will not allow an attorney to be present at a disciplinary hearing, but they can help in various important ways, including helping you determine if the college has treated you fairly and correctly followed its procedures. An experienced attorney-advisor can help ensure that you are in the best position to defend yourself, persuasively present your side of the story, or argue for a less severe punishment. In all instances, and regardless of what role your attorney will service in your disciplinary case, your attorney will work to ensure your voice is heard.
Regardless of what false realities your school may try to impart, you need an advocate in your corner solely dedicated to your cause because a finding of responsibility for allegations of any kind - academic integrity, Title IX or sexual misconduct, disciplinary violations, and so forth - and the consequent sanctions will potentially follow a student for years. Internships, graduate school candidacy, and employment can all be negatively affected if a school misconduct case is not resolved as best as possible. This is not to mention the other potential consequences such as loss of scholarships, ineligibility to play sports or be involved in extracurricular activities, and so forth. The list of potential consequences is long unfortunately when facing misconduct allegations, and only your attorney can serve the all-important role of being an advocate who is solely dedicated to getting you the best possible outcome.
Why Should I Tell My Parents?
Your parents have invested heavily in your future success, and will likely want to help you seek the best possible outcome. Although your parents will of course be disappointed to hear of your ordeal, this burden will be temporary because almost all parents would want to know as soon as possible when their son or daughter is facing such concerns so that they can help. The worst thing that can happen is to try to resolve such a major problem on your own, get a bad outcome, and then tell your parents because it likely will be too late. You need to take the necessary steps as early as possible after being notified of allegations at your school and not try to do damage control after the fact if things do not work out as hoped.
Take a deep breath, understand that, as serious as the matter is, it is not the end of the world, and recognize that their are people in your life who want to help you through this difficult time.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento Knows What Your Are Going Through and He Can Help
If you're a student faced with a misconduct charges, immediately call attorney-advisor like Joseph D. Lento who prides himself on empathy and will instruct you on navigating the problem while maintaining attorney-client privilege. Call 888-535-3686 to discuss how the Lento Law Firm can defend you.