What Happens if my Disabled Child is Charged with a Crime at School? May 6, 2015

By Susan C. Stone and Kristina W. Supler

Sometimes the conduct of a disabled student rises to potentially criminal levels and while Federal and Ohio law offer numerous protections to disabled students, the law does not prohibit a school district from reporting potentially criminal conduct committed by a student to law enforcement officials.  Simply put, mental health conditions and learning impairments are not a bar to prosecution.

However, students with special needs are guaranteed some protections.  The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act requires that a school reporting potentially criminal conduct transmit a copy of a student’s special education and disciplinary records to the appropriate authorities for consideration.  Depending on the circumstances, the special education and disciplinary records may be critical in determining whether or not the child is charged with a crime, making it imperative for juvenile court intake officers and prosecutors to possess as much information as possible about a juvenile with disabilities prior to making any decisions about whether to proceed with a criminal prosecution.  Open dialogue is essential for avoiding litigation that could jeopardize the progress of a child with special needs.

When seeking legal counsel for a disabled student facing potentially criminal charges, parents and guardians should consider law firms with experience in both education law and criminal defense.  This intersection of the law is a growing field and one in which McCarthy, Lebit, Crystal & Liffman Co., LPA is uniquely positioned to handle. Attorney Susan Stone is an experienced education attorney, litigator and parent advocate, who started the Education Law practice at McCarthy Lebit and who has worked with both school aged children, as well as college students. Attorney Kristina Supler is a skilled criminal defense practitioner who possesses experience working with juveniles with special needs.  Together they are positioned to protect your child at school and if necessary, in court.  If your child is accused of potentially criminal behavior while at school, contact Susan Stone or Kristina Supler to discuss your rights and options.

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