Long-Term Suspensions or Expulsions

A long-term suspension or expulsion may be imposed by the principal only after a fair hearing is made available to the affected student and parent. Written notice of the hearing shall be delivered to the parent and student by certified mail or in person. The notice shall be in the parent’s primary language and shall supply (1) the alleged misconduct and the school rules alleged to have been violated, (2) the recommended corrective action or punishment, (3) the right to a hearing, (4) the notice that if a written request for a hearing is not received by the staff member named in the notice within 3 school business days after the notice is received, the hearing shall be waived and the recommended corrective action or punishment shall take effect, and (5) the date by which the request for a hearing must be received.

In the event a hearing is requested, the superintendent shall appoint the hearing officer, who may be any certificated staff member who is not involved in the incident giving rise to the hearing. The hearing officer shall:

  • Schedule the hearing for a specified date, time, and place and may postpone the date and time and change the place for good cause or upon the mutual agreement of the parties;
  • Give written notice of the date, time, and place of the hearing to the principal, and the parent and student;
  • Answer any questions that the parent and student or counsel may have about the nature and conduct of the hearing;
  • Conduct the hearing with full authority to control the conduct of all persons present, subject to the general directions of this procedural code, and to limit questioning that is unproductive or irrelevant. (The hearing officer may not provide testimony.);
  • Write findings of fact and disposition of the case; and
  • Transmit the written findings and disposition to the superintendent, the principal, and the parent and student within 5 school days after the hearing.

The parent and student may request an open or closed hearing. A closed hearing may be attended only by the hearing officer, principal, student, parent, and counsel. Witnesses should be present only when they are giving information. At times when the student's psychological or emotional problems are being discussed, he/she may be excluded at the discretion of the hearing officer with the concurrence of the parent and/or counsel. In an open hearing only those persons designated as witnesses shall have the right to speak.

At least 2 days before the hearing the principal shall make available in his/her office any exhibits, affidavits or the signed statements which are the basis for the alleged misconduct and the penalty suggested by the principal. These may be examined and copied by the parent and student or counsel. If the principal later receives any further information that shall be employed at the hearing, he/she shall notify the parties involved and make copies available before the hearing. The principal may request a similar opportunity to review exhibits or statements to be used by the parent and student or counsel.

Upon the request of the hearing officer, the parent and student or counsel, the principal shall submit to the hearing officer the student's cumulative record folder. If the principal or the hearing officer deems it necessary, the information contained in such records shall be explained and interpreted to the officer by a person trained in their use and interpretation. When the hearing officer determines that the alleged act of misconduct has been committed, the hearing officer shall reach a disposition of the case. The disposition need not be the action recommended by the principal but shall not exceed the penalty he/she recommends. The disposition should explain the reason for the particular decision. The decision shall be provided to the parent and student or counsel.

If the student is under an emergency expulsion, the hearing officer shall render his/her decision within 1 school business day of the conclusion of the hearing.

Appeal Process

If a long-term suspension or expulsion is imposed, the parent and student shall have the right to appeal the hearing officer’s decision by filing a written notice of appeal at the office of the hearing officer within 3 school business days after the date of receipt of the decision. The long term suspension or expulsion shall be in effect while the appeal is pending. The disciplinary appeal council shall schedule and hold a meeting to informally review the matter within 10 school business days from receipt of such appeal. The purpose of the meeting shall be to confer with the parties in order to decide upon the most appropriate means of handling the appeal. At that time the student, parent, and/or counsel shall be given the right to be heard and shall be granted the opportunity to present such witnesses and testimony as the council deems reasonable. Prior to adjournment, the council shall agree to one of the following procedures:

  • Study the hearing record or other materials submitted and record its findings within 10 school business days;
  • Schedule and hold a special meeting to hear further arguments on the case and record its findings within 15 school business days; or
  • Hear and try the case de-novo before the council within 10 school business days.

Any decision by the council to impose or to affirm, reverse or modify the imposition of suspension or expulsion upon a student shall be made only by:

  • Those council members who have heard or read the evidence,
  • Those council members who have not acted as a witness in the matter, and
  • A majority vote at a meeting at which a quorum of the council is present.

Within 30 days of receipt of the council’s final decision, any parent and student desiring to appeal any action upon the part of the council regarding the suspension or expulsion may serve a notice of appeal upon the council and file such notice with the superior court clerk of the county. Such notice shall also set forth in a clear and concise manner the errors complained of.