No charge or punishment on juveniles assaulted with no retaliation.
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My son was charged for disorderly conduct and suspended for 3 days for not hitting another student when he was pushed to the ground twice. Edit: After viewing school video on 2/16/18, he was actually pushed down 3 times. The second push was into a parked vehicle before hitting the ground. Then again after he got up. THREE TIMES! End Edit. The school wants to tell parents as little as possible and get defensive if a parent asks any questions. I was denied video, but FERPA law states video is not an educational record and can be released. Based on court rulings I have looked at, the parents have won with some judges saying to blur out other kids and some not. There is even a TN code 49-6-3401 exception for self defense, but both students receive punishment anyway. Students can be punished by their school and charged by SRO officer for being in a fight whether they retaliate or not. The student that is the aggressor and hits or pushes receives the same punishment as the one that stands there and offers no defense. This policy needs to be changed. Schools should also be up to date on laws like FERPA and know what they can release without parents having to go to court. Things should not just be assumed by watching a video. Questions should be asked to witnesses as well as the involved students. When being questioned, these kids feel intimidated and do not usually even tell the full story. The punishment should wait until all the facts are in. It isn’t guilty until proven innocent for an adult, so it shouldn’t be for a child either. A student shouldn’t be punished if they did nothing.
The following added 2/20/18- Upon researching Tennessee codes and school policy, no where does it say both students involved in an altercation are to be punished. TN code 49-6-3401 states the student(s) initiating a physical attack are to be suspended. Student handbook which I believe is the same for all of Hamblen County states the aggressor will receive punishment. We have got to get a law in place to protect our children when they are punished for just being in the altercation.
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