Education

Protect your children before it is to late

School Safety Letter:

Many parents ask what is a school safety letter and why do I need one?

The reason is very clear without parental denial of “no prior consent” interviews of your child. The child can be removed from their classroom and detained within the school and questioned regarding almost anything without your consent, knowledge or permission.

That means your child could be suspended or expelled from school based on what the student divulges in conversation which may be a direct result of duress placed on the child. Your child may also be arrested and removed to juvenile detention.

As a parent you must protect your child.

2006, a Massachusetts first-grader attending Downey Elementary School, Brockton was suspended for sexual harassment because he put two fingers in the waistband of a female classmate.

In some cases, over zealous school administrators in an attempt to absolve school responsibility involving an incident, will attempt to focus responsibility on the student.

By placing the letter in your child’s record you take the responsibility away from the school administration to be influenced to allow no prior consent interviews by simply referring to the letter.

Many parents have stated, once they have had disputes with school systems in regards to request for educational service for their child, they suddenly discover, they have become the subject of a 51A filing (allegation of abuse or neglect) by the school.

Investigators or case workers from the Department of Children and Families are often given consent by school officials to speak to your child without your knowledge, representation or the execution of search warrant. What is written in these reports filed by these investigators or cases workers is often not reflective of what the child asserts they have disclosed.

As the parent, of your child, you have the constitutional right to deny these “no prior consent” interviews which are a clear violation of the fourth and fourteenth amendments. You also have the ability to exercise the right of your child to representation prior to any interrogation by any individual on school property even if a legally executed search warrant has been issued.

Doe et al, v. Heck et al (No. 01-3648, 2003 US App. Lexis 7144 will affect the manner in which law enforcement and child protective services investigations of alleged child abuse or neglect are conducted. The decision of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals found that this practice, that is “no prior consent” interview of a child, will ordinarily constitute a “clear violation” of the constitutional rights of parents under the 4th and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. According to the Court, the investigative interview of a child constitutes a “search and seizure” and, when conducted on private property without “consent, a warrant, probable cause, or exigent circumstances,” such an interview is an unreasonable search and seizure in violation of the rights of the parent, child, and, possibly the owner of the private property.

This letter in addition has been also written to deny access to your child’s school record unless you have provided written permission.

The ability to stop the production of student’s statements without representation can have life altering effects in some circumstances, especially, when we are discussing zero tolerance policies within school systems.

Once the school safety letter is within your child’s school record, the school system must obey your decision. A violation of your written direction can result in any obtained evidence being legally inadmissible.

You also may have the legal grounds to file a, Federal civil rights lawsuit, depravation under the color of the law, which allows for those who permitted the “no prior consent” interview to be held responsible individually and in their official capacity.

Many parents ask, can I write my own letter? The answer is yes; however, by the time you look up the Massachusetts educational law, civil rights case law, and write the letter you have easily spent more time and energy than the ten dollar fee for each letter.

Once you have obtained the letter to be placed in to your child’s school record, you need to have the school in which your child attends, date stamp or sign.

One the letter is signed or dated, request a copy and place that copy within your records concerning your child.

To obtain a school safety letter simply follow the directions on the page link below (coming soon) which will require you have some basic necessary information such as school address and the building principal’s name.

In case you are obtaining this letter and are not sure of the required information a link to the Department of Primary and Secondary Education web site has been provided which list all locations and building Principal for schools within the State of Massachusetts.

Massachusetts school districts and profiles. Simply choose the Massachusetts County you live in, than your city, which will allow you to choose the individual school your child attends.

Please note: each child, no matter if they have other siblings attending the same school building should have their own letter to secure legal protection.

The letter cost $10.00 and can be sent to you either via email, contained in a Microsoft word attachment or US first class postage.A fee of $2.00 postage and handling will be charged for each letter mailed.

Children First Advocacy and or their employees or sub contractors do not provide legal advice in any situation. Children First Advocacy provides services associated with procedural actions concerning allegations child abuse or neglect and educational issues facing children and families in Massachusetts.