What Does Arizona Law Say About Teacher Authority for Punishment and Suspensions?
What authority does Arizona law give to teachers for discipline and for suspension of a student? Arizona law requires all public schools or charter schools to have policies and procedures in place regarding discipline. So, that’s removing a student, if a student has become expelled or suspended, all of that should be outlined in the school’s policies and procedures. You can normally find this within the student handbook and the parent handbook as well. Now, if the teacher needs to remove a student, and what I mean by remove, just send to the principal’s office, the student’s behavior has to either be over a period of time, very disruptive and non-compliant, or their behavior maybe one instance, but it arises to the level that it’s so egregious that it’s really affecting other student’s ability to learn, or for the teacher to communicate what’s needed for the students to learn.
Then they can be removed and sent to the principal’s office. The teacher has that authority by Arizona state law. Now, the teacher may also have the authority to restrain a student. However, Arizona law does state that if a student is to be restrained, it must be by staff that has special training so that no harm comes to the student. And restraint only can happen if there is an imminent physical threat to other students or staff’s wellbeing. And so, that is quite a high bar. However, Arizona law does grant teachers the authority to do this, like I said if they have special training. There are also lots of requirements.
If a restraint ever happens, a parent must be notified of this. And then also, the teacher does have the authority from state law to suspend a student. To suspend them, as I said, it must be pretty egregious, very substantial disruption to other students in the class, or the teacher’s ability to communicate with other students. A lot of times those suspension rises to the level of physical harm. So, if students are physically hurting others, harassing, bullying, or things like that, that would rise to the level of suspension.
Now, even though a teacher does have the authority to suspend a student, the school’s governing board or the disciplinary committee must confirm this in a due process hearing with a parent, guardian, and student surrounding the circumstances of the suspension. Again, teachers do have the authority here to discipline or suspend a student. But if you want to get into the particulars, look in your student handbook or parent handbook because the school is required to have those sorts of policies and procedures outlined for parents.
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