Due Process

  • Due process ensures that when disciplinary action is taken against a student, the student has the right to be treated fairly. The penalty that a student receives must be reasonably related to the regulation that the student has violated and the student is entitled to certain procedural rights when discipline is possible and in appealing disciplinary action once it is taken.

    The Supreme Court has established the minimal procedural due process that must be followed before a student may be disciplined or suspended for less than ten (10) days as follows:

    • The student must be informed of what rule the student has broken.

    • The student will be given an explanation of why it is believed that the student has broken the rule if the student denies it.

    • The student will be given a chance to tell their version of what happened.

    Ordinarily these procedures are followed before a suspension takes place. However, if the student’s conduct is dangerous to other persons or threatens to disrupt school, they may be suspended immediately pursuant to an emergency removal. In such cases, the due process must be provided as soon as reasonable.

    When a suspension for a period longer than ten (10) consecutive days, or expulsion is being considered, the student is entitled to more formal due process protections as follows:

    The student must be informed in writing of all the charges and the evidence.

    The student has the right to an impartial hearing. (The person who conducts the hearing will not be the one who seeks to impose the suspension.) The student and their (legal representative/parent/guardian) will be given adequate time to prepare for this hearing.

    The student has the right to be represented by a lawyer and/or advocate at the hearing. The student’s (legal representative/parent/guardian) has the right to confront and to cross-examine witnesses.

    The student will have the right to present a defense of their position.

    The student has the right to a written decision.

    A (legal representative/parent/guardian) may appeal any decision by the Principal to suspend the student on a long-term basis, or to expel the student pursuant to MGL c.71 §37H, by sending a written request to the Superintendent within ten (10) days of the notice of suspension/expulsion.

    Notwithstanding the above, the Principal may suspend or expel a student charged/convicted of a felony using the standards and procedures set forth in MGL c. 71 §37H1/2.

    In all cases, the suspension/expulsion will remain in effect pending completion of the appeal.

Last Modified on July 20, 2022