Superintendent Suspension Hearings | Lawyers & Attorneys
When a student is accused of misbehaving, either by being insubordinate or disorderly, endangering other students’ health, safety, and welfare, or violating the school code of conduct, the student’s parent(s) will likely receive a letter from the school notifying them that the student has been suspended. This letter would also inform the parent that a hearing is scheduled to determine if the student should receive a suspension or other punishment. The school district must present sufficient evidence to sustain an allegation against the student at the hearing. If an allegation is established, the hearing officer will determine the appropriate level of discipline against the student.
At the suspension hearing, the student has the right to be represented by an attorney. During this hearing, a student’s school suspension lawyer has the right to question any witnesses against the student, the opportunity to call witnesses on behalf of the student and examine the content of the student’s school file for any inconsistencies, or proof to help the student’s case.
Given the complexities and severe consequences of having a suspension or adverse notation on a student’s record, it is important to speak to a lawyer experienced in handling school suspension hearings to represent the student and advise his or her parents in any school suspension hearing.
Frequently Asked Questions about Superintendent Suspension Hearings
Our team of attorneys and lawyers provide answers to some important questions below.
Yes. Schools are given power by the New York State’s Education Law to suspend a student who is determined to be insubordinate, disorderly, violent, disruptive, or whose conduct otherwise endangers the safety, morals, health, or welfare of others.
Such suspension can range from one (1) day to more than a year. Every student is provided a detailed code of conduct that identifies the range of penalties and offenses punishable by suspension.
Generally, a principal’s suspension is a one (1) to a five (5) day suspension issued by the principal to a student.
Once a principal has decided to suspend a student, they must provide a written notice to the student’s parent within twenty-four (24) hours of the suspension. This notice must contain the date and specific details of the conduct and notify the parent of the right to request a conference with the principal.
It is important to note that a phone call can not substitute the required written notice to the student’s parent.
Once the superintendent has rendered a suspension against the student, a written notice of the suspension must be sent to the student’s parent. Such notice should include:
- The charges against the student.
- A statement of rights for the student and the student’s parents, including the right to a legal representation.
- Schedule of the hearing to determine the conduct and punishment.
Generally, there are two phases to a superintendent’s suspension hearing: the fact-finding stage and the decision stage.
n the fact-finding stage, the violation and the specifics of the punishment are established. During this stage, the school and the student, or their parent, advocate, or lawyer present their case.
In the decision stage, the Hearing Officer will then decide whether the student’s suspension is supported by competent and substantial evidence showing that the student has participated in the objectionable conduct. During this stage, the Hearing Officer will determine the appropriate punishment, such as if the student will be suspended and, if so, for how long. The Hearing Officer will consider numerous factors in determining the punishment. Some of these factors include the student’s behavioral history, academic performance, and materials submitted reflecting the student’s character in a positive light from teachers, coaches, or other community members who know the student.
When the Hearing Officer is contemplating the appropriate punishment, it is crucial to make a formal request to the Hearing Officer that the student is immediately reinstated and that the suspension is expunged from the student’s record at the end of the school year or suspension period. Ultimately, it is within the Hearing Officer’s discretion to determine the appropriate punishment.
Yes, a parent or student can file a written appeal to the Board of Education within 30 days of the date of the Hearing Officer’s decision. If the Board of Education upholds the Hearing Officer’s decision, the decision may be appealed to the New York State Commissioner of Education within 30 days of the Board’s decision.
Yes. A student may be disciplined for off-campus conduct that endangers the health or safety of students or staff, creates a risk of substantial disruption to school operations or will otherwise adversely affect the educational process. Actions that have occurred off school grounds which resulted in school discipline include a criminal arrest, off campus fight, and online activity that is disruptive to school operations.
A student can be suspended from participating in extracurricular activities or athletic privileges as long as it is fair and the school has provided an opportunity to discuss the conduct that led to the suspension with the student and the student’s parents.
Yes. However, there are numerous protections that a student with a disability is afforded during the disciplinary process.
According to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), a suspension of a student identified as having a disability or that the school district has reason to believe may have a disability for more than ten (10) days is considered a change in placement. This occurrence triggers all of the parental due process rights contained in the IDEA. The ten (10) day disability criteria does not need to be consecutive days but are counted yearly.
A manifestation determination is an extra step in the disciplinary process relating to students with disabilities. This determination addresses whether the conduct in question was caused by or had a direct and substantial relationship to the child’s disability.
A manifestation determination is made based on a thorough review of all relevant information in the student’s file, which includes but is not limited to, the student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP), teacher observations, progress data, and relevant information provided by the student’s parents. In addition, a school’s failure to implement the IEP is a factor considered in determining the cause of the conduct.
Yes. In some instances, an agreement can be reached with the school regarding the appropriate discipline that should be imposed against your child. In those instances, a written agreement is often signed by the school, parents and child that agree to certain terms such as a specific suspension period, an agreement to attend counseling, and/or to complete community service.
Students who have violated their school’s code of conduct may face suspension from the school, extracurricular activities, after-school programs, or athletic events that they otherwise are eligible to participate in. The student must remain off school grounds and is prohibited from attending school events during the suspension period.
In order to address such behavioral issues, counseling may be appropriate to deal with such topics as anger, drugs, or alcohol.
Yes, it is legal under New York State Education Law §3214.
Under New York State Education Law §3214, a student may be suspended for up to 5 days if misconduct is alleged. During that time, a hearing must be scheduled, and the student must be provided notice of the misconduct they are charged with. On consent of the parents and the school, this 5 day timeframe may be extended.
However, it is best to consult with an attorney that handles student suspension hearings before deciding whether to attend the informal conference, as specific issues may arise.
There is a benefit to attending an informal conference with the principal. Such an advantage would be that this event would allow the student an opportunity to present their version of the events and ask questions to the complaining witnesses.
Any public-school student who, after a hearing, is determined to have brought a weapon to school shall be suspended for a period of not less than one calendar year. Additionally, the child may be charged with a criminal offense and referred for a juvenile delinquency or juvenile offender proceeding. It is a class E felony to possess a weapon on school grounds. A weapon includes a rifle, shotgun, or firearm. School grounds include any buildings or grounds used for educational purposes, or on a school bus.
DASA stands for Dignity For All Students’ Act. This anti-bullying legislation passed in New York requires schools to provide all students with a safe and supportive environment free from discrimination, intimidation, taunting, harassment, and bullying on school property, school buses, or other school functions.
This law also requires schools to take preventive actions against bullying and respond proactively to any bullying claims.
A public-school student determined by a hearing to have brought a gun or a dangerous weapon on school grounds is subject to suspension for at least one (1) calendar year. In addition, the student may be charged with a criminal offense and referred for a juvenile delinquency or offender proceeding as possessing a weapon or gun on school grounds is a class E felony under New York State Penal Code.
School ground includes but is not limited to any school property, buildings, grounds used for educational purposes, or on a school bus. Moreover, a weapon may be defined as a rifle, shotgun, or any firearm.
In some instances, an agreement can be reached with the school regarding the appropriate discipline that should be imposed against your child. In those instances, a written agreement to certain terms such as a specific suspension period, agreement to attend counseling, and/or complete community service is signed by the school, the student’s parents, and the student.
A student may be subject to discipline or suspension for off-campus conduct that endangers the health or safety of students or staff, creates a risk of substantial disruption to school operations, or will otherwise adversely affect the educational process.
Some of the actions that occur off school property that can lead to a school-mandated punishment include alcohol or drug consumption or smoking, criminal arrest, off-campus fight, and online activity that is disruptive to school operations.
A student or a student’s parent can file a written appeal to the Board of Education within thirty (30) days of the Hearing Officer’s decision.
If the Board of Education upholds the Hearing Officer’s decision, the student or the student’s parent may file an appeal to the New York State Commissioner of Education within thirty (30) days of the Board’s decision.
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