Students' Rights Briefings
In addition to guaranteeing all students an equal education, the Fourteenth Amendment also guarantees that everyone is entitled to ďdue process of the law.Ē From this sprouts the fundamental right of being treated fairly when accused of wrongdoing by the government.
Because public schools are run by the government, due process applies to public school students. Basically, the school canít give students serious punishment (such as suspension or expulsion) without having followed certain procedures. These procedures include:
Additionally, because of the Equal Education Clause in the Fourteenth Amendment, the school canít punish one student more severely than another for the same offense without good reason. Note also that due process protects students against being overly punished.
A suspension is an exclusion from school for one to 10 days in a row. To be suspended from school, a student first must break the schoolís code of conduct. For more information on a schoolís code of contact, talk with a school guidance counselor or principal.
To be suspended, a student must first be informed of the exact reason for the suspension and must be given a chance to respond to the accusation. Additionally, the studentís parents and the superintendent of the school district must be notified immediately when a suspension is given.
An expulsion is an exclusion from school for more than 10 days in a row and may lead to a studentís permanent removal from the school. To find out what exact offenses will result in expulsion from school, refer to the schoolís code of conduct.
The procedures for being expelled from school are more structured and formal. Before a student is expelled, the school district must formally notify his/her parents of the expulsion through certified mail. This notification must contain an explanation of the proposed expulsion and the reasons for it. Also, a student canít be expelled from school without a formal hearing to decide the case. This hearing is usually held with the school board, and the student canít be expelled unless the majority of the school board votes for the expulsion. The student is to remain in regular classes until the board officially decides the case.
Just as in any formal court case, the student has rights when it comes to the expulsion hearing. The rights include:
Due Process and Student Discipline Ė In the Courts!