My son, now 15, was involved in a school food fight (which lasted 16 seconds per the video tape) on the 2nd to the last day of school this past school year. On that day he was suspended from school for that day and the last day of school, assigned 3 weeks in DAEP when school starts again this year AND given a criminal citation for criminal mischief! Keep in mind, he does not have any prior "criminal" or even troublesome activity, he is an A/B student with a generally good attitude.
We have gone to the principal to discuss this ridiculous and excessive punishment immediately afterward and were quickly dismissed...punishment stands. We went to the superintendent's office, which turned out to be another learning experience as we had one superintendent retiring that very week and a new superintendent coming in to replace him...we told our story to both and requested they amend the punishment. We were told he/they could not or would not change any of the punishment although about 10 of us parents had been stating our dismay at the handling of this situation. Further pursuit would involve our school board.
We attended the first school board meeting after the food fight and were not on the agenda, so could only be heard in a 5 minute opportunity to speak, but they could not "act" or respond to anything we said since we were not on the agenda. Mind you, many of us were contacting the administration to learn HOW to get on the agenda and that information was not shared with us by anyone on the staff. So, during that 5 minutes, many of us included in our speach a request to be put on the next agenda so that we COULD get some response/interaction w/the board members. As a result we were put on the next meeting's agenda and were heard in "closed session", which was another issue of not having been told what procedures are...we sat through 2 hours of their nonsense before we had our "closed session" and they were told they were going to "table" any decisions or responses until the next meeting because "we have never had a Level 3 Appeal before." So, we came prepared, but they did not. They were fully aware of our intentions...we have made it very clear by keeping in continuous contact w/the administration and by banding together as parents and students to protest this handling of our children's punishment. We have gotten our local newspaper involved as well, to no avail.
The next board meeting is this Thursday, Aug. 21...just 4 days before the new school year starts. Many of us are pulling our kids out of this school district to either move to another district (although still having to endure the punishment doled out by our district) or simply try home schooling because we are tired of fighting this battle! They are supposed to be educating our kids, not putting them and their families through this run around.
Many of us parents have stated to the principal, the administrators and the board members that we know our kids should be punished for their involvement, but that the degree of punishment is excessive and needs to change. You would think we were trying to get kids out of being punished for something very serious, the way they have continued to handle this. We have even offered a solution to the board by sharing information on a fantastic program in Austin, started by a friend of ours who is a retired, but still active judge there...it is called Mission Possible. They have yet to even comment on that information.