Short term Suspensions (10 Days or Less)

Short term Suspensions (10 Days or Less) Anonymous (not verified) December 14, 2018 - 05:01pm

Note: This information is from our manual, Discipline in Public Schools.

What are my child's basic rights with a short-term suspension?

Generally, schools must try other ways to correct problem behavior before giving a student a short-term suspension. A student serving a short-term suspension must have an opportunity to receive educational services during the suspension. They must also be allowed to make up assignments or tests when they get back if the assignment or test would have a substantial effect on their grade or prevent them from getting credit for the class. Depending on the grade level, there are limits to the total days a student can be removed on a short-term suspension during a school year: Kindergarten to 4th-grade: no more than 10 days per semester or trimester;5th grade and above: no more than 15 days in a semester or 10 days in a trimester.

Is there a right to notice and a chance to be heard before a short-term suspension is imposed?

Yes, for students. Before a short-term suspension starts, students should get notice and a chance to be heard. The notice to the student before the short-term suspension can be given verbally. The student's chance to be heard before the suspension is through an informal conference between the student and the principal (or the principal's designee). At that informal conference, the student should get:

  • Notice of what they are supposed to have done wrong (the alleged misconduct), and what rule they violated;
  • An explanation of the evidence supporting the allegation (what information the school has that the student did violate a rule);
  • An explanation of the consequences they will face; and
  • A chance to explain what happened from their perspective.

Starting in the 2019-20 school year, schools will be required to take additional steps to involve parents in the earliest steps of the discipline process. They will be required to give students the chance to contact their parents during these informal conferences.

What kind of notice should I (the parent) get for a short-term suspension?

If a short-term suspension is going to last more than one calendar day, then parents must be notified. The notice can be in writing, or just verbal (in person or on the phone). The school should explain why the student is being suspended, and how long the suspension will last. The school must also give parents information about the right to have an informal conference with the principal. Schools can decide to shorten a suspension based on conversations with you and your child at the informal conference, so making time to meet with the school can be valuable. A three, five or ten day suspension could be reduced to one or two days. If you want to receive a written notice and explanation of the reason for the short-term suspension, you should be able to get one by asking the school. Each school is required to report all short-term suspensions and the reasons for them, in writing, to the district's superintendent within 24 hours of the suspension.

Is there a right to appeal after a short-term suspension has been imposed?

Yes. Students and parents have the right to request an informal conference to “grieve” a short-term suspension if they do not agree with it. The appeal process for short-term suspensions is less formal than for long-term suspensions or expulsions. It is called a “Grievance Procedure,” in the state discipline rules. It starts with an informal conference with the principal or their designee (sometimes an assistant principal), and the teacher or other staff person who was involved in referring the student for discipline. If you or your child disagrees with the suspension, whether because you believe things did not happen the way the school says, or because you think the consequences are not fair or appropriate, you can ask for the informal conference with the principal. Even if you agree that discipline was appropriate but want to understand more about what happened and work on ways to avoid it happening again, you can ask for the informal conference with the principal. At the conference, the school staff will ask you questions, and you can ask them questions. You can try to reach understanding and agreement about:

  • What happened;
  • Why it happened;
  • What the harm or impact was on the classroom, other students, and your child;
  • What could be done to address any harm caused and/or clarify misunderstandings;
  • What, if anything, should be changed to help prevent problems from happening again; and
  • A plan for how your child will keep up while they are out of class, and catch up when they get back.

After meeting with the principal, if your concerns are not resolved, you can ask for a meeting with the Superintendent or someone designated by the Superintendent to hear discipline grievances. You can also send them a written explanation of your concerns. If your concerns are not resolved at the Superintendent level, you can ask for the chance to share your concerns in writing or in person at the next meeting of the district's School Board, or to the district's disciplinary appeal council if the board designated responsibility You can also send them a written explanation of your concerns.

What educational services should my child get while they are out of school for a short-term suspension?

Whenever a student is suspended or expelled, even for short-term suspensions, the school will need to work with the student and family to help them keep up. If a student is suspended for 5 days or less, then the school must, at a minimum, give them:

  • Their classwork, including any assigned homework, from all of their regular subjects or classes;
  • Access to someone at school who can support them in keeping current with assignments for all of their classes (this might be one person, or several); and
  • A chance to make up assignments or tests they missed once they get back.

If a student is suspended for 6-10 days, the school must, at a minimum, give them:

  • Their classwork, including any assigned homework, from all of their regular subjects or classes;
  • Access to someone at school who can support them in keeping current with assignments for all of their classes Someone from the school has to reach out, and try to connect with the student or parents within 3 business days of the suspension, and then periodically after that until the suspension ends. Their job is to:
    • Coordinate and make sure the course work and assignments get to the student, and the completed work gets back to the teachers for grading; and
    • Check in with the student, parents and teachers about how the student is doing academically;
  • A chance to make up assignments or tests they missed once they get back.

As soon as reasonably possible after a suspension starts, the school has to give you notice about the educational services it will provide, and the name and contact information for the person who can help your child keep up with assignments and classes.