My son is 13 and in 8th grade. Sept 10th he was outside the school during a fire drill when his SLC (small learning community) director asked him to come with him to his office. After all I her students were back inside they went to his office. My son asked why he was there the director told my son that someone had reported that one of the bathrooms smelled of marijuana and that my son and another student were on video with going in or coming out of said bathroom around that time.

Long story short, my son did have a joint in him and willingly gave it to his director. There ended up being 2 officers in the office in full uniform with weapons and cuffs. My son asked to call me 3 times and was told to hang on it in a minute. He was asked to leave the room for a few minutes and when they told him to cone back in, he was handed a paper and his director told him to write a confession. My son asked if the director already knew everything and had video why did he have to write it down and the director told him if didn't he'd be leaving in cuffs to which officer #1 agreed stating yes basically that's what's going to happen.

He has a 504 plan but at the manifestation meeting they said his disability had nothing to do with his actions. Then they wanted me to sign a Waiver of Due Process Rights probationiinary Continued Education Agreement which said he could continue school through APEX which is online learning. With certain stipulations to avoid expulsion.

But I want to challenge it all because of how they got his confession. He was suspended 14 days before this meeting (legally the school can only suspend 10 days), I never received any of this information prior to this meeting. When I picked up my son the day in question the director told me that I would be getting an email with everything I needed to know in the next day or two. Never came and I could only get a reply from the director if I emailed the counselor and CC him in NY email. Never got any real answers then anyway. And the director wasn't even present at the manifestation meeting, the assistant principle stood in for him. At the end when I told the assistant principal what my son told me of the interrogation he stopped me and said he'd have the principal call me to see what steps I needed to take and no one has called.

What are my sons rights? Since they didn't tell him about his Miranda rights and refused his request to contact me, can't I take it to court and get my sons statement erased?

  • 2
    Even if the confession were suppressed, if (big if) your son really is on camera going into and out of the bathroom at the time marijuana was smelled there, unless other kids were also using the bathroom (and they were probably outside at the fire drill), that's damning. As long as nothing is going on a permanent record, I suggest you put your energy into getting your son not to smoke marijuana at school. Sep 27, 2019 at 20:24
  • I assume they are not taking a criminal action against him, so "Mirandized" is not relevant. The question is, did they violate school policy by questioning him without you present, or searching/asking him for the joint, etc. Is this a public school in the USA? (504 makes me think yes) There is no doubt a "rights and responsibilities" handbook that describes the process. You probably signed acknowledgement of receiving a link or hard copy of said handbook.
    – Damila
    Oct 4, 2019 at 15:12

2 Answers 2


He does not need to be mirandized unless he is being arrested and the officers want to use things he will say as evidence.

The officers in your situation seemed content to let the matter be handled through the school. If they had wanted to arrest him, they could easily have done so as soon as he pulled out the joint and handed it to the director.

The "write a confession or you will leave in handcuffs" pretty much invalidates it in a court of law. Even if it weren't excluded, his testimony as to why he wrote it looks pretty bad in front of a jury. That said, I doubt that's where this case is headed.

My understanding is this: The school director and two police officers caught your son smoking marijuana on school property. The punishment they sought is that he admit culpability and that he continue school online, and (presumably) on probation.

In the grand scheme of how these cases could go, this isn't that bad. There are some procedural irregularities you could press, but there's enough evidence without the irregularities that work against your son.

Having said that, sign nothing without consulting a lawyer. But it could be worse.


The primary question is whether the minor was charged with a crime based on this confession: it appear that the answer is "no". The case of N.C. v. Kentucky, 396 S.W.3d 852 is germane: here, N.C. was criminally charged based on a confession obtained by a school official. The court held

This Court recognizes that questioning by school officials is relevant and necessary to student discipline and safety, and that such matters are not impacted by Miranda when only school discipline is involved.

But if there is an arrest, that changes. There is no legal Miranda-related basis for challenging this disciplinary action.

  • 2
    An arrest in itself would trigger little recourse as well. The primary recourse for 5th Amendment violation is the exclusionary rule, and if they were to prosecute without using the confession, that wouldn't apply. Sep 27, 2019 at 20:17
  • I definitely have and will continue to address the p0û
    – Aubreec4
    Sep 27, 2019 at 21:15

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