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Under Illinois law, a teacher who is past their probationary period cannot be removed except for cause. But what is cause? Cause may be remediable or irremediable. Remediable conduct may include substandard teaching. Irremediable conduct may include conduct that is cruel, immoral, negligent or criminal or in any way causes psychological or physical harm to a student. For example, in Ahmad v. Board of Education of the City of Chicago, a teacher falsely represented herself as a school district agent to obtain over $33,000 in free school supplies from a nonprofit organization that she intended to sell for her…
Under Illinois law, you may only be terminated as a teacher for cause once your probationary period has expired. To do so, however, the school district must follow certain procedures. See: 105 ILCS 5/34-85. If the alleged “cause” is remediable, you must receive a reasonable written warning specifically stating that such cause may result in charges unless you take steps to remove the problem. There are a couple exceptions to this rule, such as if you have failed a remediation plan or if the district and your union have agreed on an alternative system of remediation. No written warning…
As of June 1, 2020, high school students old enough to vote will not have to choose between exercising their constitutional rights and facing trouble over an unexcused absence. Of course, this law may be less critical during the pandemic. Under 10 ILCS 5/7-42, a student may leave school in order to vote for up to two hours during a school day. The student may vote election day or during early voting beginning the 15th day before an election. The school, however, may specify the hours when the student may be absent. If you have questions about this or…
Under the law, public schoolteachers cannot be fired except for cause. In many cases, a teacher may go through a remediation process in order to keep their job. But some types of conduct are not eligible for that process. What kind of charges allow a Board of Education to bypass the remediation process and go straight for termination? The answer is less clear than you might think. Generally, a board must first issue a written warning for conduct that is remediable, unless a teacher displays conduct that is “cruel, immoral, negligent, or criminal or that in any way causes psychological…
As of August 23, 2019, Illinois has new ground rules regarding the need to notify a parent before questioning your minor child at school. Before questioning a student on school grounds who is suspected of a crime 1) a law enforcement or school security official must try to notify you, 2) the school must document the time and manner of the notice, and 3) the school must make reasonable efforts to ensure you are present during questioning. If you cannot be present, then the school must include a school social worker, psychologist, nurse, guidance counselor or other mental health professional…
You saw the school bus, but you honestly didn’t see the stop sign extending from it. So you drove past the bus, and next thing you know, a police car signaled you to pull over. You would never intentionally disobey a school bus sign, and the whole thing is extremely upsetting. What is the law? What can you do? In Illinois, you must stop before passing a school bus from either direction when the bus is signaling a stop by either a stop sign or flashing lights. You may not drive forward until the school bus proceeds, the bus driver…
Your son has been dating a16-year-old girl from his high school for several months. Although you cautioned him about premarital sex, everything you said went in one ear and out the other. To make matters worse, her father found out right after your son turned 18. Now he is facing criminal charges for statutory rape and expulsion from school. What is statutory rape? What are the penalties? What can you do? In Illinois, statutory rape means sexual penetration or conduct with someone at least 13 and less than 17 years old if you are no more than 5 years older…
Your child’s school mailed you a letter, which came back as “undeliverable.” From that, the school inferred that you really live outside their district. They had an inspector watch your home, and now they are threatening to kick out your child and stick you with the bill. Once you receive notice of a residency challenge, you will likely need to request a hearing. Be forewarned that a school residency hearing can often be an uphill battle. While some hearing officers are quite fair, it is the school district who pays him or her. Therefore, the hearing officer has every reason…
Your school district no longer believes your child is a legal resident, and so a school inspector is coming for a home visit. Embarrassed by the trash and dirty socks, you nag your child to clean up his or her room. Well, not so fast! This is the one time a messy room is actually a good thing. Questions about your residency may come to the school’s attention from a student’s remark or a piece of returned mail. You may then get a letter notifying you that the school will dis-enroll your child unless you request a hearing. As an…
Your son got caught with contraband in his school locker. The principal hauled him in for questioning without contacting you or asking if your son wanted an attorney. Can they do that? Generally, the answer is yes. While Illinois law prohibits police and other public officials from questioning your child without asking if he or she wants an attorney, most school officials are not considered a public official for these purposes. Under 705 ILCS 405/5-401.5(a-5), your child’s statement is presumed inadmissible as evidence if an officer or public official takes your child’s statement during a custodial interrogation without first…
Your child really is a good kid. But like many teens, he is still pushing his limits, which can result in some pretty bone-headed behavior. Now, the school is upset over something he posted on Facebook. You know he was just being silly, but the school isn’t laughing. Instead, your child faces both expulsion from school and criminal charges. Under the typical school code of conduct, your child’s threats may be considered “Gross Misconduct.” Penalties may range from a parent conference to expulsion. In some cases, the school may still expel your child after a suspension. Before that happens, you…
It could have been a teachable moment. Instead, Paul Boron, a 13-year-old middle school student in Manteno, IL, is facing felony charges. Did he slip someone a date rape drug at a party? Was he dealing drugs? Was he sexting? None of the above. His crime: recording a conversation between himself and his principal without the principal’s consent in violation of Illinois’s eavesdropping law. The Illinois law requires the consent of all parties when recording a private conversation. The school district and the justice system could have taken this opportunity to educate Boron and other students about the law. Instead,…
As of January 1, 2018, the Illinois law on delivering cannabis or other controlled substances near school grounds has become just a little less strict. The old law penalized manufacturing, delivering or possessing with intent to deliver cannabis or other controlled or look-alike substances within 1000 feet of school property, which also applied to school-owned transportation. It did not matter if no students were nearby or the school no longer operated as a school. Under the new law, the distance has been reduced to 500 feet. Further, the fact a school is or was a school is no longer enough.…
Understandably, you would like your child to get the best education in the best school district, but perhaps you can’t really afford to live there. You may be tempted to lie about your child’s real home in order to enroll them in that preferred school. But depending on the circumstances and the school district, you could end up charged with a felony. In February, 2018, Orland School District 135 pressed felony charges against a mother who provided an allegedly fraudulent lease for a home in District 135. The home was actually a retail establishment. After questioning, the mother continued to…
The answer is probably not, although there are exceptions. You just received notice that your child is in trouble and may be suspended or expelled. You have a right to a hearing and an attorney. Instead, you think you will simply enroll your child in private school. But there is a catch. Private schools generally require that new students produce a certificate of good standing. If your child is expelled, they will not be in good standing, and many private schools will not consider them. Some schools will make exceptions on a case to case basis, but this is far…