Bianca: Disclaimer: I am not a Psychologist or Psychiatrist and theirs may be the advice you need.
It would seem that you wish to help your child. That a good first step. Many would go to the school, loudly defending their child, regardless of the actual cause of the problem. You know, "My child would never do ANYTHING bad.â€
The first thing to do is to go to the school and get EVERY incident's record. You have to know what the official reasons are for the suspensions. It would be helpful to talk to the teacher(s) and administrators who have suspended him or her, in order to get a glimpse of the "off-record" thinking that prevails. While we're at it, and not to start picking on the school authorities, I personally wonder how you can suspend a student 7 times in one year without reaching out to his family. There has got to be a MAJOR problem somewhere. (Spoken as a fellow who had his share of suspensions in his formative years.)
After getting the "evidence" from the school, the next step is to do the same thing at home, with the child. (At this age, while still a child, many young people feel that they are 12 going on 30.) Be prepared to find that the school may not be the issue. Sometime we act out where we can, not where the cause of action lies. For instance, if discipline at home is strict and physical, it may be easier to sass a teacher than the parent. (Just saying, not accusing.)
You will now have at least the information about the recorded causes of the problem. This information may or may not be the problem at all. This is where counseling would be of use. Almost all school systems have recourse to professional help. A good friend, a PhD psychologist, was employed by the city schools for just that purpose. Check it out. These folks are usually quite independent of the schoolâ€™s administration, having some professional immunity.
You may be able to unlock the mystery yourself, or at least get to the point where you wish to forge ahead on your own. My advice would be to get the child interested in SOMETHING. At 12, the individual is no longer a baby. Mom's apron strings are either lose or too confining. Some activity is needed that allows independent action and accomplishment. For me, for a while, it was Boy Scouting. For others, a musical instrument. I don't know, anything wholesome will do. Nothing consumes time and energy better than an overwhelming interest. At twenty, for me it was an automotive garage. For a good friend, it was the dance theater. She was the perfect "Chorus Line" story but ended up with a biochem degree.
One last thought: Peer group pressure. Perhaps the child is hanging out with a less than sterling group of young peers, ones who encourage the child to act-out. This is often the way, where the group would never put their own necks on the line but will applaud the person who does. That person can be so fuelled by the approval that they lose all sight of the fact that the behavior is destroying their own life, just for the amusement of the gang.
So, that's all that I know of these things. As a Realtor, I'm way out of my league here but I thought back to my own struggles and thought it might help
Best wishes. Good luck and God Bless!
P.S. I believe that the poster who said you were at teh wrong site was entirely right. I just decided to chime in on your delemma.