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How is Bullying Disciplined in Ohio

How is Bullying Disciplined in Ohio
May 7, 2020 | Written by Dan Margolis

Bullying is unacceptable. But so is the denial of your child’s rights.

Under pressure from state and federal authorities, local school administrators are putting in new and harsher policies to stop bullying in place. These policies may result in some innocent children getting punished for normal, but misinterpreted behavior. Some children may even have their studies interrupted because of false accusations.

If your child is accused of bullying, an Ohio education law attorney can ensure their rights are respected. At The Law Office of Daniel M. Margolis, LLC, we can intervene quickly on your child’s behalf and challenge inappropriate punishments.

For a free consultation about your child’s situation, call (216) 533-9533.

Ohio’s Uniform Anti-Bullying Policy

Ohio law requires every school board to establish a policy prohibiting all forms of bullying, intimidation, and harassment.

Local school boards are encouraged to develop these policies with parents, school staff, community members, and students. But every policy must contain some necessary provisions mandated by state legislators:

  • A statement prohibiting bullying and harassment of any student on school property, on a school bus, or at school-sponsored events
  • The definition of bullying as violence within a relationship, or repetitive written, verbal, electronic, or physical acts by one student against another that causes mental anguish, physical harm, or which are so severe and persistent that the educational environment takes on an intimidating, threatening, or abusive character
  • A prohibition against making false accusations of bullying
  • Suspension as the punishment for bullying
  • A guarantee that the anti-bullying policy will not violate students’ first amendment right to free speech.

The Supreme Court has held that students still benefit from their constitutional rights when on school property. This can make anti-bullying policies challenging for school administrators.

School boards are government bodies that may be held accountable for any policy or action that deprives a student of their constitutional rights. As a result, they must walk a fine line between protecting students from bullying and possibly denying them their rights.

School Boards Must Respect Due Process

While Ohio’s anti-bullying policy addresses a student’s right to free speech, school board disciplinary policies already consider students’ 14th amendment right to due process.

This right guarantees that a state body will not deprive any person of their life, liberty, or property without due process. For students, this means that they cannot get suspended for more than ten days without a formal hearing that includes:

  • A description of the rules violated
  • An impartial three panel must render the punishment decision
  • The student may present evidence in their defense
  • The student may bring a lawyer
  • The hearing may be closed to the public to protect the student’s privacy

Many parents are unprepared for this hearing and miss an opportunity to clear their child’s name. The assistance of an experienced lawyer can make a big difference by articulating your child’s case and presenting any evidence that shows your child is innocent or deserving of a second chance.

Contact Attorney Margolis: An Ohio Education Lawyer Can Help

At The Law Office of Daniel M. Margolis, LLC, we are committed to advocating for student rights and ensuring that their studies will not be interrupted by discipline issues. We are ready to work with parents and school administrators to find solutions. But we will not hesitate to advocate aggressively where necessary.

If your child has been accused of bullying, call us today at (216) 533-9533 for a free consultation.

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