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Tavian’s Story

Fifteen-year-old Tavian’s mom called Advocates for Children’s Helpline for assistance when Tavian received a 30-day superintendent’s suspension. Tavian, an honor roll student who had never been suspended before, brought non-alcoholic over-the-counter cough medicine to school to help treat a cold. He was confronted by suspicious teachers in the cafeteria when – not wanting to draw attention to the fact that he was sick – he was drinking it from a soda bottle. Tavian handed over the bottle, explained that it was cough syrup, and was told he was not in trouble and could go back to class. But the following day, he received a suspension letter charging him with possession of an illegal or controlled substance, unauthorized prescription medication, or alcohol, and removing him from school for 30 days.

AFC represented Tavian at a suspension hearing. We successfully proved that Tavian had not, in fact, violated the NYC Department of Education (DOE) Discipline Code, as the cough syrup was not an illegal or controlled substance and did not contain alcohol. The suspension was dismissed, the charges expunged from Tavian’s record, and he was allowed to return to school immediately. Thanks to AFC’s prompt intervention, instead of being out of class for 30 days, Tavian was back after 8 days and working to make up the time he lost.