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Education Law –
Student & Employee Discipline

It does not matter if it is elementary school, middle school, high school or college.  School sanctioned discipline (referral, detention, suspension or expulsion) can affect a student for the rest of his or her academic career because it is almost always made a permanent part of a student’s academic record.  As a result, a student with a blemished record may be limited in his or her future school choices or class selection (IB Program, AP Program or Honors Program).  Many schools and academic programs use a child’s disciplinary record to eliminate them from consideration for certain classes and programs.

Employee discipline can have an equally devastating effect.  Teachers, administrators, professors and even volunteers face a nearly impossible task in attempting to secure future employment when they have been sanctioned or disciplined by a school and//or school board.

Whether it is a student, faculty member, administrator, or volunteer the discipline process will be governed by the District Bylaws and Board Policy of each individual school district and, possibly, guidelines/rules designed and implemented by that particular school.  Contained within the Bylaws and Policies are written guidelines as to what types of employee and student behavior can result in disciplinary action, as well as the process to request a hearing regarding the allegations and how and when to appeal any findings.  Typically, neither a student nor a school employee can be disciplined without “Due Process.”  Essentially, every accused individual gets the benefit of an orderly and uniform procedure designed to address similar allegations.  “Due Process” typically requires that a person (student, teacher, and administrator) receives proper notice of the allegations, be allowed to respond to those allegations at a hearing, and be provided a process to appeal any decision.

In any situation where a student or educator is facing discipline, and effective advocate must review the District’s Policies and school guidelines to determine if the violates school or district policy and determine if the imposed penalty is allowable and warranted under those policies.

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