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5 Back-to-School Legal Reminders

By Christopher Coble, Esq. | Last updated on

Kids may not be excited about going to back to school and parents may not be too thrilled about the legal issues they might face with school starting.

But if you're proactive in addressing some potential educational and safety concerns, it could be smoother sailing into the school year for everyone.

  1. Liability Waivers -- Whether your child is starting at a new school, playing on a new sports team, or participating in field trips, you could be looking at too many legal waivers to read. But you should be very careful and not sign any without thoroughly reading them. If you have issues with specific language, you may "X" out portions of a waiver you don't feel comfortable with.
  2. Social Media Policies -- Kids are going to be on social media and parents and schools must be aware of it. With the prevalence of online bullying and other misconduct, some schools are monitoring students' social media activity for safety and security reasons. Find out if your child's school is one of them and be familiar with their policy. And if your child has a phone with a camera (who doesn't these days?) you should have a frank conversation about sexting, which can get them into big trouble.
  3. Truancy Laws -- Yes, you too can get into trouble if your child skips school. Truancy laws can penalize parents for their children's excessive absences or even chronic tardiness. You'll want to be familiar with your state truancy laws and impress upon your children the need to show up to school, lest you end up facing jail time.
  4. Drinking and Drugs -- Every parent has to have this conversation with his or her child. Not only could early drinking and drug use be harmful for kids, some private schools are testing students for alcohol and drugs. You want to keep your children safe and you don't want to get arrested yourself. (So don't host drunk teens at your house.)
  5. Injury Concerns -- Kids are injury prone, and schools full of kids only increases the injury risk. Whether from other students, faculty or staff, or unsafe conditions at the school, it's possible your child can get injured at school, so be aware of your legal options if they do.

There are myriad legal issues that can arise in and out of school. If you have concerns about what's happening at your children's school, you can consult with an experienced education attorney near you.

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