Due Process for Arizona Student Discipline
What due process is provided to students with discipline in Arizona? So, let’s just first go over what I mean by student discipline. In the context of this blog and for the due process, I’m really speaking about suspension where a student is required to be off the school premises for a specific period of days. Normally, it’s 10 or lower, or if they’re suspended and they’re inside the school premises, but just outside of the school classroom. And then also expulsion. This means that normally for a period of one year, the student is unable to come onto the school premises. We’re talking about suspension and expulsion.
So, let’s talk about the due process around that. The first step is the school’s student policies around discipline. So, schools, like I said, in a public school or private school setting, are required by state law here in Arizona to establish policies for discipline. They can define what would lead up to a suspension or expulsion and the process within their school’s governing board. Once that happens, the school would then decide if the student was either suspended or expelled, or expulsion. Then the next level is at the school’s governing board.
They are required to have a disciplinary committee and hold a due process hearing if the parents would like. They would give notice to the parents of the discipline and their rights. Then the school governing board or the committee would then hold a hearing and the parent and student are welcome to join. They would discuss the discipline. If the school does uphold the discipline, the suspension, or expulsion, then they also must notify the parent and notify the parent’s appeal rights.
At this level, the parent can either file a complaint or ask for a due process hearing at the state level. So, this is with an administrative law judge who then hears both sides, so the school and then the parent and student. And then they would make a binding decision if the discipline should be upheld or set aside. Again, parents do have a lot of rights and say so with discipline just because the school suspends a student or they are expelled, parents do have rights to fight this. I think that’s the biggest misconception that parents have and that I have seen. And that’s when I get involved. So, if you need an attorney, they can represent you at the school level, or the school governing board level up until a meeting with an administrative law judge for a hearing on this discipline.
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