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Why Did I Get ISS? Unpacking School Discipline Rules

school discipline

When your child goes to school, you want to ensure they have a positive learning experience. But certain situations can disrupt their education. Chapter 37 of the Texas Education Code dictates the specific laws regarding school discipline. If a child is misbehaving or causing a disruption to others, a teacher or other school employee may give them detention. However, no school discipline method can be fully effective or complete without a parent’s involvement. Here’s everything you need to know about school discipline rules and detention. 

The Code of Conduct

Every year, your school is required to provide you and your child with the Student Code of Conduct. This document details the specifics of each school’s expectations when it comes to how students should behave. There are many common expectations among schools, such as not talking during assigned quiet times, but each school may have some variations. It’s crucial that you read over this document and ensure your child understands the expectations placed on them when attending school.

What to Do When Your Child Faces Disciplinary Action

When your child faces disciplinary action in school, the school’s faculty is required to inform you of this action. This is crucial not only to helping to correct any misbehavior but also to allow you to ensure your child’s rights and safety are protected. Not every case of disciplinary action is strictly necessary, and sometimes it could even be harmful. Here’s what you should do if your child gets detention or any other disciplinary action.

Gather the Facts

The first step is to establish open communication with both your child and their school. There’s more than one side to every story, and it’s important that you have all the facts. Ask your child about what happened and try to get as many specifics as possible. Then ask their teacher or other involved faculty member about what happened. If another student was also involved, it may be a good idea to talk with their parents as well to get more information. During this time, it’s crucial that you keep full documentation of any correspondence. This could include making notes of when phone calls took place or saving emails sent and received. 

Contact an Attorney

If you feel that the discipline was not justified, or if your child was injured or their rights violated in any way, you’ll want to contact a lawyer for help. Navigating school disciplinary laws is difficult, especially since public schools have a certain level of immunity against legal action. Your attorney can help you understand your child’s rights and the best way you can defend them moving forward. 


Having a lawyer is also important for understanding specific laws, such as zero-tolerance policies. A zero-tolerance policy means your child can face disciplinary action even if they were acting in self-defense or did not intend to cause disruptions. These rules and regulations are particularly difficult to fight against, but having a lawyer can certainly help. 

Address the Larger Concern

In many cases of extreme or chronic acting out, there’s often a larger issue at play. For example, if a student is constantly bullied, they may lash out one day and get into a fight. Or a child who has difficulty concentrating in class may find themselves frequently causing disruptions. If your child acts out of character or is continuously in trouble, it’s a good idea to dig deeper and address the real problem. Many students who frequently get detention for class disruption may need additional accommodations to help them focus on their schoolwork. Addressing the larger concern can help your child receive a better education with less disciplinary action. 

The School Grievance Process

If you feel your child’s rights were violated or they were unjustly disciplined, you have the right to seek corrective action. When initial conversations with your child’s school fail, you can follow the school grievance process to seek additional aid. The process typically begins with a formal complaint to your principal that can go to the school board, or even the Commissioner of Education or the Office of Civil Rights (OCR). Your attorney can help you understand your child’s case and determine which course of action is best to help protect their rights. 

Need Help with School Discipline Laws?

When your child gets in trouble at school, it’s natural to feel frustrated or overwhelmed, especially if they received unfair treatment. But keeping a calm and level head is the best way to advocate for your child. At the Hager Law Firm, we specialize in protecting a child’s rights, especially when it comes to school discipline laws. Call us today at (903) 466-0001 to set up a consultation about your child’s case.

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