In charter schools, parents may have choice but no rights. What does this mean? In this brief from the American Bar Association, the rights that parents assume they have are valid for public schools but not charters. According to recent court decisions in a California Appeals Court and a U.S. District Court in Hawaii, charters have the right to dismiss students in a manner that would be unconstitutional in a regular public school.
As the number of charters grows, charter parents need to beware.
In the California case, the judge ruled that students had no due process rights in dismissal. No hearings regarding rule infractions were necessary. Unlike public schools the judge reasoned, charters are a school of choice. Thus, a dismissed student can return to a public school.
In the Hawaii case, a student was dismissed for inappropriate Face Book posts. The student had a ‘property right’ to an education but not to one of any particular type or place.
Expulsion hearings are constitutionally mandated, but dismissals are not. Whether or not a child is expelled or dismissed becomes a word game. The bottom line is that “the lack of oversight by a public board of education Ythat it is left to students and parents to enforce the laws independently through expensive litigation”.
The brief concludes that students disadvantaged by a disability, poverty or being a member of a minority group, or who have been accused of an offense may not have the same access to a charity school as those who (sic) are not.
In a nutshell, charters operate in an arena where if you are unhappy, do not complain just leave. If the charter is unhappy with you, you will be dismissed. You have no rights as long as there is a regular public school somewhere to attend.