Teach Your Teens Their Rights to Avoid School Injury

Following Mounting Pressure from Students, University President Tom Wolfe Resigns

Is anyone else incredibly disgusted by the amount of violence occurring on school grounds? Unfortunately we live in a world where we now expect violent headlines and police brutality. But when violence occurs in educational facilities, by teachers, students, and officers alike, we need to take a good hard look at the safety procedures implemented on all school grounds.

Schools Making Headlines for All the Wrong Reasons

What is even more baffling is that studies have shown that the targeted individuals are most often minority and disabled students. More and more cases have arisen of students being mistreated because of their ethnicity. University of Missouri President and Chancellor resigned this week on student’s charges of persistent racism.

Last month a video was released of a South Carolina deputy dragging an African-American student across the floor. And who can forget the 14 year-old Muslim boy from Dallas who, back in September, was arrested for bringing a homemade clock to school?
The series of racist incidents that forced University of Missouri President to resign from his post included racial slurs, a swastika in a dormitory, and others. Does this sound like an environment friendly to learning?

Statistics Show Disparity in Student Suspension

The statistics of minority and disabled students receiving suspensions in the country are alarming. These are some harsh statistics revealed by the New York Times:

-African-American Students:

-15 percent of public school students in the country

-35 percent of students suspended once

-44 percent of students suspended more than once

-36 percent of expelled students

-Disabled Students:

-12 percent of students in the country

-25 percent of students suspended more than once

-23 percent of students subjected to a school-related arrest

Do Disciplinary Actions Keep Students Out of School?

The Obama administration and the U.S. Department of Justice issued guidelines in January 2014 in an attempt to combat civil rights injustice and school safety issues. This guideline lays out school discipline guidelines that should be followed aim to provide safety and enhance the school climate. Attorney General Eric Holder stated that, “A routine school disciplinary infraction should land a student in the principal’s office, not in a police precinct.”

Every School Should Follow These Safety Guidelines

These guidelines were released in an attempt to combat the growth of violence on school grounds, but many states and districts still do not adhere to them. The federal guidelines urge the following steps from schools:

  • Train teachers more intensively in classroom management
  • Ensure that teachers and administrators know they, rather than security or law-enforcement officers, are responsible for routine discipline
  • Collect data on disciplinary actions and monitor the actions of security officers
  • Emphasize policies that reinforce positive behavior over tactics that drive students out of school


Flex Your Rights, a site that deals with the proper ways to deal with police officers, lists the helpful ways for your children to interact with police officers on their school campus. Flex Your Rights, and McMinn Law Firm, recommend you tell your child that, in any scenario where they believe they could get into trouble, they should remain silent and insist that the school contact a parent.


Flex Your Rights uses an example from the Central Park Jogger case of 1989:

“After being suspected in a rape they didn’t commit, the teenagers were subjected to intense police interrogation. When their parents and guardians arrived at the station, they urged them to ‘just tell the police what they want to hear.’ The teenagers’ false confessions were later used as the key piece of evidence in their conviction.”

So, please, urge your children to take the road of caution until you or your partner can be there as support. And, if the situation goes beyond a visit to the principal’s office, contact your friends at McMinn.