Student Suspension

Student Suspension

The Board of Education, District Superintendent, Superintendent of Schools, a Building Principal or, in his/her absence, an acting Building Principal may suspend a student from school where it is determined that the student:

  • is insubordinate or disorderly, or exhibits conduct which endangers the safety, morals, health or welfare of others; or
  • exhibits a physical or mental condition(s) which endangers the health, safety or morals of himself/herself or of other students; or
  • is removed from a classroom for substantially disrupting the educational process or substantially interfering with the teacher’s authority in the classroom four or more times in one semester.

In addition to the statutory grounds for suspension from school, students shall also be subject to suspension based upon a violation of the specific disciplinary infraction.

Pre-suspension Process

Prior to being suspended from school on an immediate basis or when a proposed suspension is being considered, the student shall be confronted by a school official empowered to suspend (Building Principal, Acting Building Principal, Superintendent of Schools, District Superintendent, Board of Education), at which time the evidence upon which the decision to suspend is based shall be stated to the student, and the student shall be given the opportunity to explain his/her version of the facts.  The student shall also be afforded the right to present other persons to the suspending authority in support of his/her version of the facts.  If the student’s presence in the school poses a continuing danger to persons or property or an ongoing threat of disruption to the academic process, s/he may be immediately suspended.  If the student cannot be confronted at the time of the initial suspension due to safety concerns or mental or physical condition considerations, such confrontation shall occur following suspension, as soon thereafter as is reasonably practicable.

Short-term Suspension Process

Prior to a proposed suspension from school for between one and five days by a Building Principal or an acting Principal in the absence of the Building Principal, the student and his/her parent shall be notified, in writing by certified mail, by verified personal delivery, verified express mail or verified overnight service, and by telephone, if possible, within 24 hours of the decision to propose suspension.  Such written notice shall include a description of the incident(s) resulting in the suspension and shall inform the parent of their right to request an immediate informal conference with the Principal at which the student and/or his/her parent may present the student’s version of the event and ask questions of complaining witnesses.  Upon such request, an informal conference with the Principal and other parties involved shall be convened as soon as possible, [at which time the evidence, including the complaining witness(es), may be questioned by the parent or guardian.]  The right to an informal conference with the Principal shall also extend to a student if 18 years of age or older.  The notice and informal conference shall be in the dominant language or mode of communication used by the parent.  It is the responsibility of the parent/guardian to indicate to school officials if their dominant language is other than English.  If the student’s presence in the school poses a continuing danger to persons or property or an ongoing threat of disruption to the academic process, the notice and opportunity for an informal conference shall take place as soon after the suspension as is reasonable.

Any appeal of a Principal’s suspension must first be presented to the Superintendent of Schools within five days and then to the Board of Education prior to filing any further appeal to the Commissioner of Education.

The Long-term Suspension Process: Suspension for More than Five Days

Any suspension from school in excess of five school days shall be considered a long-term suspension.  Unless there is an agreement between the person requesting the suspension and the parent, a long-term suspension may be done only after the Superintendent of Schools or the Board of Education has conducted a hearing.

When a student is subject to a long-term suspension, a hearing shall be conducted by the Superintendent.  The Superintendent of Schools may designate a Hearing Officer to make findings of fact with respect to the charges of infractions under the code of conduct, the discipline chart, and various discipline policies and regulations, as well as penalty recommendation pursuant to the penalty parameters described herein.

Hearing Procedures

Notice of Hearing

In the event of the suspension of a student under the age of 18 years, the notice of suspension will be sent by certified mail or verified delivery to the parent, who shall have a minimum of 48 hours’ notice of the time and place of the hearing, as well as the nature of the charge(s) and the facts, sufficiently stated so that a proper defense may be placed upon the record on behalf of the student.

In the event of the suspension of a student over the age of 18, the notice, as described above, shall be delivered or mailed to the student, as well as to the student’s parent(s), if any.  Emancipated minors shall be entitled to the same notice as a student beyond the age of 18 years.

All notices of long-term suspension hearings shall contain provisions indicating that the student has the right to be represented by an attorney or lay counsel, that a transcript of the hearing will be prepared (tape recording or stenographic record) and made available to the student’s representative upon request and that the student has the right to subpoena witnesses, cross examine District witnesses and/or otherwise present witnesses in his/her defense.  The time, date and location of the hearing shall also be prominently set forth in the notice.

If the student is 18 years of age or older, the letter described above will be mailed to the student as well as his/her parent.

The Long-term Suspension Hearing

The hearing shall be conducted by the Superintendent or a designated Hearing Officer in the event of a suspension by a Building Principal, acting Building Principal; or the Superintendent.  The hearing shall be conducted by the Board or its designated Hearing Officer in the event that the suspension originated by Board action.

At the beginning of the hearing, the Hearing Officer shall inform the student and the student’s representative(s):

  • that the District’s and the student’s representatives shall have the right to examine and cross-examine witnesses;
  • that the student has the privilege against self-incrimination, but that if the student does testify, he/she shall be subject to cross-examination;
  • that the District has the burden of proving the charges by a preponderance of the credible evidence;
  • that a transcript of the proceeding shall be maintained and made available to the student’s representative upon request; and
  • that the hearing shall be private or open to the public, as determined by the student’s parent or representative.

The person conducting the hearing shall not have intimate knowledge of the details of the charges to assure an impartial, unbiased hearing of the case.

The Hearing Officer shall inform the parties:

  • that the case will proceed by having the District present its evidence through witnesses and other evidence first;
  • that the District’s witnesses shall be subject to cross-examination by the student’s representative; and
  • that the student will then have the opportunity to present witnesses on his/her behalf, subject to cross-examination by the District’s representative.

Following the conclusion of the testimony and the introduction of other evidence matters, the parties shall be afforded the opportunity to present oral arguments to the Hearing Officer indicating the reasons why the charges should be sustained or dismissed.

The Hearing Officer shall then reach findings of fact upon the charges.

In the event that one or more of the charges is sustained, the Hearing Officer shall then entertain statements from the parties regarding the appropriate penalty outcome.  In the event that the parent and/or the student, in an appropriate case, have been served with a copy of the student’s past disciplinary anecdotal record in a timely fashion (at least 48 hours before the hearing), for consideration at the hearing, such record may be considered by the Hearing Officer in determining an appropriate penalty.  The incidents contained within the past anecdotal record shall be subject to proof, and a bifurcated hearing shall be conducted relating to the discipline record to the extent that they are denied by the student, as expressed by the student’s representative.

The Hearing Officer, upon the conclusion of the portion of the proceedings dealing with penalty determinations, shall make findings of fact and penalty recommendations, if any, to the person or body which designated him/her immediately upon the conclusion of the long-term suspension hearing. The Superintendent or Board, whichever designated the Hearing Officer, shall make its own findings of fact and penalty decision, by adopting those of the designated Hearing Officer, where applicable, in whole or in part, or by reaching independent findings of fact and penalty determinations.  This process shall be concluded within the five school day period from the time of the initial suspension if the student is to be continuously suspended, unless the parent or student has requested an adjournment with the stipulation that the student will remain out of school during the adjournment period. The decision may be communicated to the student’s representative and/or student (where over the age of 18) beyond the five school day period in cases where the student has been reinstated to attendance in school pending the final determination on the charges and penalty by the Superintendent or the Board, in cases to be decided by them, respectively.  In the event that a student within the compulsory education ages of six, and the school year in which he/she becomes 16, is suspended from school in excess of five school days, alternative equivalent instruction shall be provided for the duration of the period of suspension.

Alternative Instruction

When a student of any age is removed from class by a teacher or a student of compulsory attendance age is suspended from school pursuant to Education Law §3214, the District will take immediate steps to provide alternative means of instruction for the student.

Appeals Process

The decision of the Superintendent with respect to the findings of fact sustaining charges in a long-term suspension hearing and/or penalty determination shall be subject to appeal [or may be appealed] to the Board of Education.  The Board shall review the record of the proceedings before the Superintendent or his/her designated Hearing Officer. The Board does not provide the representatives of the respective parties with the opportunity either to present evidence not previously in the record or to make arguments in person before the Board.  All appeals to the Board must be in writing and occur within 30 days.

In the event that the initial long-term suspension hearing was conducted by the Board or its designated Hearing Officer, or where the Board has ruled on an appeal from a Superintendent’s long-term suspension hearing, the matter may be further appealed to the Commissioner within 30 days of the decision.