It's no secret that COVID-19 has severely disrupted many people's lives. The new social distancing requirements and mask mandates have been especially challenging for schools. Schools across the country have altered their disciplinary rules to ensure safe learning environments for students. Many students now face strict punishments for violating COVID-19 policies that may greatly impact their long-term future.
New School Policies
The education system has already seen a major overhaul in response to the global pandemic. Many schools have moved to online classrooms to help curb the spread of COVID-19. The schools that are holding in-person classes have added new mandates to protect student safety, such as requiring students to wear masks and distance themselves from their fellow students.
Schools have also added revisions to their codes of conduct that threaten punishment to students who violate new protocols. Students now face a laundry list of consequences for potentially spreading COVID-19 to other students.
Duval County Public School students who fail to follow mask policy face a code of conduct infraction. Punishments include filling out a safety contract, attending a parent-teacher conference, and removal from in-person classes. In Utah, students and staff who refuse to wear masks at school can be charged with a misdemeanor.
Students in virtual classrooms also face backlash for failing to abide by new rules. Shelby County Schools bars students from wearing pajamas, hats, hoods, and other items that violate school dress code policy when attending virtual classes.
Concerns Over the New Rules
Although schools intend to protect students by enforcing new rules, some experts are expressing doubt about the effectiveness of these policies. The new disciplinary rules come in a time of uncertainty for students, staff, and parents. Students may already be more likely to misbehave due to disruptions in their daily life and the added stress stemming from the pandemic.
Civil rights advocates also argue that school policies may disproportionately affect minorities. Data shows that African American, Hispanic, and Native American communities are more likely to be negatively impacted by the virus.
Experts argue that minority students may be more likely to disrupt classrooms as they deal with COVID concerns. Studies also reveal that African Americans and students with disabilities already face disproportionate rates of suspension and other school punishments.
Responding to Discipline
The new disciplinary procedures have already impacted students across the country. Students who violate COVID related policies face added punishment during a stressful time for communities. Many students accused of misbehavior have no prior offenses and are struggling to adapt to their new learning environments.
If a school accuses your child of violating its code of conduct, you should consult an advisor. An attorney can help you create a defense and challenge punishments that put your child's future at risk.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento has spent many years advocating for students and helping them fight against unfair determinations. Contact Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686 to speak with an experienced attorney today.