Issues With Schools
Colorado attorney Lara Marks Baker discusses what to do in cases where school administration harshly and unjustly punishes a child.
For more information, contact Colorado law firm Foster Graham by phone at (303) 333-9810.
“When you have a juvenile case, the child is under the age of 18, and there are issues that arise with respect to the high school and disciplinary action that can be taken by the high school (or the middle school, or the elementary school, as the case may be). Often, the school has its own ‘jurisdiction’ to resolve the issue as they deem fit for their own disciplinary procedures, but what that creates is a complication of the criminal case, because they want a statement from the kid that they can make part of their own disciplinary file, so they can take action against the kid in terms of school.
You’re always concerned, when you’re facing a criminal matter, about ‘what you say can and will be used against you in a criminal case,’ so, very often, juvenile cases, we end up handling hand-in-hand with the school procedure because it’s the only way to protect the child on all fronts. I say this to clients all the time: ‘Just because the law treats you as an adult at 18, doesn’t mean that every kid has become an adult at 18.’
I think that cases with, I call them kids, but 18-year-olds to 25-year-olds tend to be quite prevalent because that is a stage in kids’ lives where they’re kind of going out into the real world on their own and testing their wings, and sometimes they run into circumstances, away from their parents, that have a huge impact on the rest of their lives, that they wouldn’t have had the judgment at age 19 to have thought about. Under the age of 18, we end up handling expungement matters, but we have a lot of cases where the kid is over the age of 18, but not very much over the age of 18, so they’ve got their whole lives ahead of them, and it’s critical the way that you resolve these cases, in a fashion, now, in adult court, that doesn’t follow them the rest of their lives.”