Yes. Every school district allows parents and students an opportunity to appeal any disciplinary action that is taken against the student. A denial of the opportunity to appeal a disciplinary is a denial of the student's due process rights.
How Can I Appeal a Short-Term Suspension or Detention?
If you feel that your student has been disciplined unfairly, but received only a mild punishment such as short-term suspension or detention, you may be able to request a grievance conference on their behalf. The grievance procedure is less formal than the appeal process for harsher punishments. The grievance procedure for mild disciplinary actions usually involves:
- A conference involving the student, parent(s), and principal to discuss the incident and punishment
- If the parties are not satisfied with the conference, they may request a second grievance conference with a designee of the superintendent
- If the parties are still not satisfied, they can submit an appeal to their district's disciplinary appeals board
How Can I Appeal a Long-Term Suspension or Expulsion?
If your student has been suspended for longer than 10 days, or if they have been expelled, you may want to appeal the decision. Most school districts allow you some method of appealing the disciplinary action. Generally, if you want to appeal a more serious punishment, you should:
- Contact your county's appeals office as soon as possible, as there is often a limit on how long you can wait to file an appeal
- Submit an appeal to the appeals office
- Your appeal may be reviewed by a legal expert who will evaluate whether the disciplinary action was appropriate under the circumstances
- You may request an appeal hearing
What Rights Do I Have at an Appeal Hearing?
If you attempt to appeal a disciplinary action against your child, you should make sure you know what your rights are at the hearing. The rules regarding appeals differ according to state, so make sure you understand the laws in your district. Some important things to consider about an appeal hearing are:
- You have the right to represent your child, or to hire a lawyer at your own expense. If you hire a lawyer, the school may have the right to be represented by a district attorney.
- You may have the right to bring someone who is not a witness to the hearing as a supporter.
- You may request an interpreter.
- You may examine the evidence that the school has against your child.
- Your child may be present at the hearing.
- Your child may confront witnesses that testify against him, and may also present a defense or explanation for his behavior.
What If I Am Not Satisfied with the Outcome?
If you are not satisfied with the outcome of the appeal hearing, you may be able to make a written appeal to the district superintendent's office.
Should I Contact a Lawyer?
If you are considering appealing disciplinary action taken against you or your child, you may want to contact a government lawyer. An attorney will be able to inform you of your rights and represent you in a hearing if you so desire.