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Can an Elementary School Retain Students against parent wishes? Lawyer Advice

On Behalf of | Mar 2, 2017

You get a heartbreaking call, it’s your child’s school. They tell you that your child will be held back or retained a grade. The schools retention recommendation came out of the blue. How could this happen? Why are they retaining your child? How are you going to tell your child that their friends will be moving on without them?

Can you stop a school from retaining or holding a child back a grade?

Maybe. Fighting a school’s decision to hold or retain a child back a grade depends on many factors. It also depends on what grade the child is currently enrolled in. For example, when a Florida public school child is in third grade and set to advance to fourth grade, the state of Florida gives much more power to school districts in making a decision to hold that child back. Although every situation is unique, here is some information and thoughts that may be helpful.

Know the Law

Florida Statute §1008.25 is entitled, “Public school student progression; student support; reporting requirements.” This law contains the guidelines for promoting, and consequently holding back or retaining, public school students.

Know your School District’s Policies

In addition to the Florida statute, practically every Florida public school district has a policy outlining student promotion and retention.

Document Issues Throughout the Year

When you have your meetings with your child’s teachers, pay attention to what is being said. Are the teachers reporting that there are no issues, or is your child struggling in certain areas? If so, what does the school plan on doing to help your child succeed? A school cannot let your child fail or struggle throughout the year. A school must try to help your child succeed. Document issues and what the teachers and administration tell you. Create a record.

Ask Questions

If your child is flagged for being held back, ask questions. Where are the assessments? What interventions did you implement for the child? What alternative criteria have you provided my child?

English Second Language (ESL)

If your child is an ESL student, then additional procedural safeguards exist and it is much more difficult for a district to hold back a child.Unfortunately, many times these situations require the use of an education lawyer to argue for promotion, not retention. Principals and administrators many times feel that they are correct and will not listen to parents. This leaves the child in a losing situation.Click here to read about our public schools practice area. Richard Asselta is an award-winning education law attorney with offices in both Florida and New Jersey. He is experienced with defending students against grade retention and all other types of school issues. Call The Education Lawyers today and we will fight to have your child promoted to the next grade. (855) 338-5299