“Regardless of what the answer key said, you shouldn’t have said what you said. We’re trying to foster a respectful community. And we can’t do that if we just let students talk however they want to talk to teachers without consequence.” — The Principal


So, we can all agree that Tino was right when he confronted his teacher about the grammar question in his workbook. The sentence should have gone “The girls is laughing,” and he had every right to correct his teacher when the point of school is to learn, and that extends to teachers as well no matter what decades of learning they have under their belt. So, a lot of people can agree that the principle went too far when he suspended Tino, but did he have a right to do so? Is it really under the NJ school regulations to suspend students in Tino’s position or was the principal carrying out a punishment simply because he did not want to see the school’s authority challenged?

Well, as of March 2014 the New Jersey State Board of Education re-adopted some regulations (.J.A.C. 6A:16-7.2, 7.3, 7.4 and 7.5 to be exact) that reestablished standards and parameters for addressing issues with student conduct, suspensions, expulsions and due process. This is a part of a longer discipline handbook that explains all the policies regarding safety and health a school should follow and the procedures necessary to keep the student’s lives safe. The handbook does allow for each district within NJ to create their own standards as long as they follow certain state guidelines.
Regarding Tino’s 2-day suspension (which falls under policy 6A:16-7.2), all the principal was required to do after he heard notice from Tino’s teacher was: give an informal hearing, an oral or written notification of the student’s removal from class before the end of the school day, and to have someone watch the student until they are are taken home by a parent or guardian. So, the principal was technically in the right, but morally is another matter.



"Student Suspensions, Expulsions and Due Process." State of NJ: Department of Education. March 2014. http://www.state.nj.us/education/students/safety/behavior/sedp/.