Discipline Procedures

Discipline Procedures

A stack of books

Your rights depend on how severe the possible discipline (or punishment) is, and whether the punishment will take away your right to receive an education. Generally, the more severe the possible punishment, the more extensive the fair procedures to which you are entitled.

Minor punishments that don’t interfere with your education do not require due process. Examples of minor punishments include detentions or in-school suspensions. Your school may allow you some procedures to contest detention or in-school suspension, so check your school’s handbook.

Moderate punishments such as out-of-school suspensions for less than 10 days require some fairness procedures, but they may be very informal. Before imposing a short suspension, school officials must

• let you know that you may be suspended,
• tell you the reasons for the suspension, and
• give you a chance to tell your side of the story.

Severe punishments, including suspensions of 10 or more days, and expulsions, require additional fairness procedures because they will interfere with your education. Before imposing a long suspension or expelling you, school officials must

• let you know what your punishment may be,
• give you a chance to have a hearing before an impartial person, (an impartial person is one who has no reason to favor either you or the school official who is proposing the punishment),
• allow you to be represented by an attorney at the hearing,
• give you a chance to present witnesses and other evidence at the hearing, and
• give you a final written or recorded official decision that explains the reasons for the decision.
Generally, you can appeal suspension or expulsion decisions to the principal, superintendent, and in some cases, to the school board.