Students enrolled in one of the many K-12, higher education, and graduate studies programs in the Memphis metropolitan area focus hard on their classwork. Graduating with a diploma is the first step toward entering the workforce and beginning a dream career. Even though children become more self-reliant in their formative years, supportive parents help their children pursue their goals.
Schools test students through a vast battery of academic rigors, including lengthy individual assignments, group projects, standardized tests, and even the completion of community service projects. Adolescence is when children learn to problem-solve independently, but sometimes obstacles arise that they aren't prepared to handle. Whether family emergencies, social tension with peers, or the pressure to succeed causes students to misstep, more often than not, a school administration is likely to levy misconduct allegations.
Parents may think their child's school has the student's best interest at heart and manages infractions with positive-minded behavioral correction. However, minor interpersonal issues, arguments with teachers, and borderline academic dishonesty are handled frequently with harsh punitive measures in institutions supporting zero-tolerance policies with mandatory minimum sanctions. Unfortunately, even if your child is a well-behaved member of the school community, broad spectrum rules and guidelines governing academic progress and classroom behavior treat students like case numbers.
Even with first offenses, students may suffer:
- Being stripped of honors
- Removal to an alternative education placement
K-12 schools, institutions of higher education, and educational programs must maintain state and federal accreditation standards and promote a pristine public image. Therefore, violations are routinely addressed promptly and sometimes hastily. Parents in the Memphis metropolitan area may not have the negotiation tactics required to broker a deal with disciplinary board members on behalf of their children. Because of this, it's necessary to know that when a school disciplines your child unfairly, you can retain professional assistance and ensure their education remains intact.
Memphis Metropolitan Area
Anchored by the Mid-South commercial and cultural hub, the Memphis metropolitan area encompasses dozens of counties across the tri-state area of Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee. With well over one million inhabitants, the area boasts a diverse and robust economy and is a delightful landing spot for graduates seeking further education or the burgeoning map of Fortune 500 companies.
Yet, students dealing with serious misconduct charges risk not having their choice of school or career in the fast-paced area. Since sanctions and investigations of alleged misconduct are reported on a student's record, they lose preference from colleges and universities, graduate programs, and top employers. Therefore, you need a student defense advisor familiar with the area who can broker a resolution with school administration officials to keep you intact with your studies and out of trouble. Fortunately, Joseph D. Lento is no stranger to the Memphis metropolitan area and its suburbs, including:
- Forrest City
- Holly Springs
- Horn Lake
- West Memphis
Whether your high school son or daughter is relegated to an alternative education placement or you're a third-year medical student struggling through a remediation program, Joseph D. Lento and his team at the Lento Law Firm can help.
Memphis Metropolitan Area Student Concerns
Students enrolled in one of the numerous educational programs in the Memphis metropolitan area must overcome many obstacles. While academia and forming bonds with peers can be challenging enough, there could be impediments to success that aren't straightforward.
A wide range of state and federal funding streams require students to follow a set of rules in addition to what the school or district expects. Suppose institutions give instructors the ability to develop degree or classroom-specific guidelines. In that case, they may burden students, leaving them confused about acting differently from class to class. Moreover, your children could be subject to conflicts of interest, discrimination, and a lack of proper school oversight.
If misconduct allegations are academic, behavioral, or otherwise, a professional student defense advisor will uphold your rights. Make the first move today to build your defense against becoming a disciplinary statistic.
Memphis Metropolitan Area Schools
No matter what grade, program level, or degree concentration your child is enrolled in, premier student defense advisor Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm are readily available to provide a strong defense. For example, dependable representation can be had at the following colleges and universities:
- Baptist College of Health Sciences
- Christian Brothers University
- LeMoyne-Owen College
- Rhodes College
- Rust College
- University of Memphis
- University of Tennessee Health Science Center
Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm's proven student defense team are also on hand to represent students in K-12 programs in metro area school districts, including:
- Arlington Community Schools
- Bartlett City Schools
- Collierville Schools
- DeSoto County School District
- Germantown Municipal School District
- Lakeland School System
- Marion School District
- Memphis Community Schools
- Millington School District
- Shelby County Schools
- West Memphis School District
Private elementary and secondary school students across the Memphis metropolitan area can also get help from student defense advisor Joseph D. Lento and his team at the Lento Law Firm, including, but not limited to, those attending:
- Binghampton Christian Academy
- Bodine School
- Briarcrest Christian School
- Central Baptist School
- Christian Brothers High School
- Collegiate School of Memphis
- Concord Academy
- DeSoto Christian Academy
- Evangelical Christian School
- Faith Heritage Christian Academy
- First Assembly Christian School
- Harding Academy of Memphis
- Hutchinson School
- Immaculate Conception Cathedral School
- Lamplighter Montessori School
- Lausanne Collegiate School
- Lighthouse Christian Academy
- Macon Road Baptist School
- Margolin Hebrew Academy
- Memphis University School
- Northpoint Christian School
- Pleasant View School
- Rossville Christian Academy
- St. Agnes Academy
- St. Benedict at Auburndale Catholic High School
- St. George's Independent School
- St. Mary's Episcopal School
- Tipton-Rosemark Academy
- West Memphis Christian School
- Westminster Academy
Disciplinary Defense in the Memphis Metropolitan Area
Each school or district in the tri-state area will be directed by its respective state's board of education to establish a set of rules governing student behavior, classroom behavior, and faculty and staff boundaries to maintain its educational goals. These guidelines are commonly designated one of three names:
- Code of Conduct
- Honor Code
- Student Handbook
A parent's first element of supporting their child's defense when misconduct arises is the code of conduct. Students are instructed on conduct principles during matriculation, progression to another grade level, or through a class syllabus. The text will outline what the school considers proper conduct, violations, investigations, hearing procedures, the appeals process, and subsequent sanctions.
Ignorance is not a defense in student conduct matters. Retaining the help of a professional student defense advisor will ensure you understand your child's code of conduct and how the school will proceed. Moreover, it will show you the school's limitations on various methods of discipline, making you aware if excessive punishment or a lack of due process concerns your child.
While there are hundreds or even thousands of rules and regulations managing programs from kindergarten through post-doctoral studies, most misconduct is divided into three categories:
- Academic misconduct
- Non-academic misconduct
- Title IX and sexual misconduct
Academic Progression Issues
Instructors and school administration officials expect measurable student progress as the school semester passes toward graduation. Given that academics are the bedrock of any institution's value, when students fall behind with classwork, they will address the situation quickly.
Federal financial obligations require students to maintain satisfactory academic progress (SAP). Every school will have a policy detailing achievement thresholds throughout the program's duration, whether by semester, grade, or program year. For instance, Rhodes College enforces policies upholding minimum cumulative grade point averages (GPA), course completion ratios, and maximum timeframes from graduation. While most primary and secondary schools don't require students to maintain federal financial aid eligibility, students must fulfill obligations for graduation. Generally, these consist of proficient standardized test scores, a minimum GPA, and community service hours or projects.
Violations of SAP guidelines are initially addressed with academic probation or remediation. Corrective measures could force students to pull their grades up in as little as one semester. This is in addition to being forced to attend meetings with academic advisors, do extra work, and be stripped of the ability to participate in extracurricular activities until completion. Failure to abide by the terms can quickly lead to suspension and expulsion, even if extenuating circumstances hinder the student. Appealing academic probation or progression issues is possible, but parents and their student children aren't prepared to come to the bargaining table with administration officials.
Academic Misconduct Issues
Schools value original work in their halls of learning, and even attempting to subvert academic integrity policies will land a student in big trouble. Institutions in the Memphis metropolitan area codify the consequences of dishonesty in their codes of conduct.
Primary and secondary schools like those within Memphis Community Schools detail how homework, open book tests, proctored exams, and group projects must be completed. They state that assignments should "represent reasonable effort on the part of the student," and "The copying of someone else's work with the intent to misrepresent that assignment is never permissible."
Institutions of higher education often dive further into how students may attempt to submit disingenuous work. For example, the University of Tennessee Health Science Center describes the following as academic misconduct:
- Withholding information
- Unauthorized possession of school materials
Although schools rightfully punish students who violate academic integrity policies, disciplinary boards may act on unsubstantiated information or levy disproportionate sanctions. Instructors may also mischaracterize individual students for acts they didn't commit.
Non-Academic Misconduct Issues
Institutions must maintain a systematic academic and social environment both on campus and at any school-sponsored event. While it's clear that criminal activity is prohibited, schools tend to correct any actions that disrupt the learning atmosphere.
For example, Christian Brothers University has policies prohibiting various items and behaviors. Students may be charged with misconduct if they engage in:
- Alcohol consumption in specific residence halls
- Breaches to campus expression rules
- Disorderly conduct
- Destruction of campus property
- Failure to identify oneself to school authorities
- False reporting of misconduct
- Soliciting business
- Smoking, vaping, possessing such paraphernalia
- Unlawful use or possession of federally controlled substances
- Using personal cooking or grilling devices
- Violations of guest policy or visiting hours
- Weapons possession
Non-academic misconduct charges can ruin a student's reputation. Sanctions will be recorded on a student's record. While minor infractions may not seem like a big deal, college admissions boards and potential employers will analyze a student's character before enrollment and during the hiring process. Being labeled a troublemaker will challenge your child in their journey toward an education or career of their choice.
Title IX and Sexual Misconduct
Federal Title IX legislation requires schools receiving federal funding to address instances of sexual misconduct immediately. Every institution, from elementary school to post-doctoral programs, will have a Title IX coordinator that oversees the grievance process. While schools may differ slightly on the timeframes of the investigative, hearing, and appeals stages, most will proceed similarly.
According to the Title IX policy of the University of Memphis, the following are violations:
- Dating/Domestic violence
- Sexual abuse, exploitation, harassment, misconduct
Primary and secondary schools like those in the DeSoto County School District will have optional live hearings, parental involvement during the proceedings, and mandatory reporting requirements for faculty, staff, and volunteers. Regardless, Title IX offenses are serious at any grade level. Defending your child in these situations without a professional student defense advisor can quickly lead to expulsion from the school.
How Joseph D. Lento Can Help You
The goals for parents should be to provide their student children with quick relief from alleged misconduct. You may think you should hire an attorney, but they usually begin their defense by threatening lawsuits that may go on for months or even years. A formal suit against the school is a possible course of action, but it's rarely needed.
Joseph D. Lento has built and maintained relationships with members of numerous schools' Office of General Counsel (OGC). Consequently, he and the Lento Law Firm can broker beneficial resolutions on behalf of students outside formal hearings. Call 888-535-3686 today or visit the confidential online consultation form.