Faced With Legal Action From Schools? What Can Parents Do Now?
At Sundance Canyon Academy, we hear from many parents who are at their wits end with their teenagers. Their teen son’s behavior at school has caused legal trouble, and the parents are stuck dealing with the repercussions of that trouble. Their teen’s behavior needs to change, and it needs to change immediately. We are writing on this topic to offer tips for parents faced with legal actions from their teen’s school. Contact us for more information about your options and how to help your teen change his behavior.
Even if your teen doesn’t think that high school matters, you know that it’s important for them to attend school. They need to learn the information being taught, and they need to pass their classes and graduate.
Sure, skipping school is more appealing than sitting in class all day. As an adult, ditching work is probably more appealing than being at work too. But as a responsible adult, you still show up to your job so that you can get paid.
Teens aren’t especially great at thinking through the long-term consequences of their actions, though. They much prefer immediate gratification. So if your teenager starts skipping school, you’ve got a problem on your hands. Now you’ve got to convince them to show up to school as is expected of them, and you need to follow up to make sure they’re actually at school. If they keep missing school, you could both face legal consequences.
What to do when facing legal action from schools
Your teen might not realize it (or they might not care), but it’s illegal for them to skip school. If your child is not yet considered an “adult” in your state, it is your legal responsibility as their parent/guardian to ensure they go to school.
If they miss too many days, the school is required to call social services and inform them of your child’s truancy. When this happens, you’ll probably get a visit from social services.
Depending on social services’ determination, you and your teen might be required to follow through with legal action such as:
Appearing in court for a truancy violation
Following through with probation requirements
Passing drug tests
Completing community service
Meeting with guidance counselors at school to check on attendance
Going to counseling or therapy sessions
Appearing in court for a civil violation
Paying court costs
Getting your teen to and from their probation meetings and any other required meetings
Meeting with school administration to make attendance plans and follow up on your teen’s progress
Working with social services to show progress at home and school
As you and your teen are going through this legal process, you must cooperate with all court-mandated requirements. It’s equally important for your teen to cooperate with his court-mandated requirements.
Hopefully, your teen will realize the severity of his actions and start attending school again without much nagging. Either way, it is imperative that he starts attending school again and avoids more legal trouble.
What to do while you’re facing legal action
Facing legal action due to your kid’s decisions can be extremely frustrating! You need to take care of yourself during this process as well.
Get support from trusted friends or family members who will let you vent your frustration without judgment. You could also see a therapist or attend group support meetings with parents in similar situations.
Having other people to talk to is incredibly helpful. You don’t need to go through this alone.
Going through legal battles takes its toll on your mental and physical health. On top of all your usual responsibilities, now you’ve got to deal with this as well.
Be purposeful about staying healthy, and give yourself a break when things don’t go perfectly. Whenever possible, try to eat well, sleep enough, and get physical exercise.
Do what works
Hopefully, your teen gets back on track at school and starts attending classes just as he should. If not, you still need to find a way to get him to go to school. Get others to help if needed and do what works.
Stay in touch with his guidance counselors and teachers. Talk to your social services agent and get ideas from them. Talk to your kid’s probation officer and get ideas from them. If you’re all working together with your kid’s best interest in mind, you’ll come up with something that works.
If your son still refuses to go to school, consider sending him to a residential boarding school. It’s remarkably tough to skip classes when you live on campus, and your teachers are always present.
Students attend classes and receive high school credits to help them get back on track scholastically. They also participate in individual and group therapy sessions to help them learn to follow through with responsibility and think through their actions. If you think this could be a good fit for your son, call us at 866-224-2733 for more information.