Know Your Rights About School Suspensions

  • Step #1: Find out if it’s a Principal Suspension or a Superintendent Suspension.
    • Principal Suspension: Typically 1-5 school days and the principal must provide you with written notice of the suspension before it starts and must hold a conference with the parents within 5 school days. At the conference you’ll be able to see any evidence or hear any witnesses who have information about the incident. You’ll have the chance to ask questions at that time. The principal will then make the decision as to whether the suspension will be upheld or dismissed.
    • Superintendent Suspension: Much more serious. Can last anywhere from 5 days to 1 year. The school must provide written notice of the suspension and there will be a hearing scheduled within 5 school days. You can ask for an adjournment (postponement) of the hearing if you need more time to prepare for it. Before the hearing, you should ask the school for a copy of the suspension packet. The packet will contain copies of any witness statements and evidence there is about the incident. These documents will help you prepare your case. After looking over the information in the packet, you can decide whether you want to have a Full Hearing or enter a No Contest Plea. If you proceed with a Full Hearing, the department of education bears the burden of proof and has to convince the hearing officer that your child did what he is accused of doing. The school will present witnesses and evidence and you will have the chance to cross examine those witnesses. You can also bring your own evidence and witnesses to show your child is innocent. Anything your child says at this hearing can be used against them in a juvenile hearing if arrested later so they should not speak at the hearing. The hearing officer has 2 days to consider how to respond. If you disagree with the decision, you have the right to appeal the decision. Even if you are suspended for one year, the school must provide your child with alternate education to ensure they stay on track academically. They need to provide your child with all his school work and allow him to take the tests that happen during the suspension. You may bring an attorney with you to the suspension hearing.