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queenesther
queenesther asks:
Q:

Is it legal for my daughters school to suspend  her for cutting herself?

My daughter has been cutting herself and we are seeking treatment for her.  I would like to speak to her school counceler about this as some of her depression stems from our recent move and her switching schools, and I feel that having him involved could be helpful.  However her school has a policy that if a child is cutting they must stay out of school until they have been in therapy for two weeks.  My daughter is very academic and I feel that the stress of missing that much class time will just add to her depression.  On top of that, we live in a very small town and she is terrified that other kids will find out about this.  Is it legal for her school to force her to leave while she is in therapy?
In Topics: School and Academics, Cutting, Discipline and behavior challenges
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Boys Town National Hotline
Jan 4, 2011
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What the Expert Says:

We are not aware of it being illegal to make a child stay home from school because of self-injury, but if the school is private they are governed independently and can have different policies than public schools. As far as we know, being in therapy is not grounds for an expulsion. Many children are in therapy across the country for many different issues.

It should be your personal decision to tell or not tell the school counselor about the cutting. You can present the problem to him as depression and then get the guidance you and your daughter need from your own therapist.  Although it might be difficult for your daughter to be out of school for a time, the most important thing is to make sure she is safe and is getting the help she needs. She does not have to talk about it to anyone at school if she does not want to. Eventually she may feel more open and may find a good friend at school whom she trusts.

If you would like to talk about this immediately, please call or e-mail us and you can speak with one of our counselors. You can also give your daughter our website for teens: www.yourlifeyourvoice.org
We are here 24 hours, 7 days a week for parents and children of all ages.  Take care and we hope to hear from you soon!

Sincerely,

Cynthia, Counselor
Boys Town National Hotline
1-800-448-3000
hotline@boystown.org
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