Due Process and Appeal Rights
STUDENTS ON SUSPENSION OR EXPULSION CANNOT BE ON SCHOOL PROPERTY OR AT ANY SCHOOL FUNCTION.
Hearing Officer for the Meridian School District is David Forsythe, Assistant Superintendent.
Below are the procedures, due process, and appeal rights regarding Washington State Laws for student discipline as set forth in the Meridian Board Policies and the WASHINGTON ADMINISTRATIVE CODES(WAC) 180-40-235 through WAC 180-40-320:
SHORT-TERM SUSPENSION (1-10 School Days)
(WAC180-40-240, -245, -250, and –255)
If you have concerns about the discipline that has been imposed, you have the right to an informal conference with the principal in regard to the suspension. There you can present your grievance (oral or written) in regard to the written or oral notice of charges given to your child and mailed home to you. Pursuant to WAC 180-40-250, the suspension may possibly be reduced as a result of this informal conference. If you are not satisfied after that, you shall have the right upon 2 school business days’ prior notice, to present a written and/or oral grievance to the superintendent.
If you are not satisfied after that, you shall have the right, upon 2 school business days’ prior notice, to present a written grievance to the board of directors during the board’s next regular meeting. A closed meeting may be held for the purpose of considering the grievance. The board shall notify the student and parent of its response to the grievance within 10 school business days after the date of the regular meeting in which the grievance was presented. The short-termed suspension shall continue notwithstanding implementation of the grievance procedure unless the principal or her/his designee elects to postpone such action.
LONG-TERM SUSPENSION AND EXPULSION (More than 10 School Days)
(WAC180-40-260, -265, -270, -310, and –315)
An administrator may impose a long-term suspension or expulsion only after a fair hearing is made available to the affected student and parent(s). Written notice of the hearing shall be delivered to the parent and student by certified mail or in person. If you wish to contest the imposition of this discipline, you must contact the administrator named in the notice within 3 school business days after the notice is received. If a request is not received within that time period, your right to a hearing will be deemed to have been waived and the discipline will be in effect.
If a hearing is requested, the principal shall schedule the matter for a hearing within 3 school business days of such request. The parent and student and the district or representatives shall be permitted to inspect in advance of such hearing any affidavits or exhibits which are to be submitted at the hearing. The parent and student shall have the opportunity to be represented by counsel, to explain the alleged misconduct and to present affidavits, exhibits, and such witnesses as desired, as well as the opportunity to question witnesses. This hearing shall be conducted before a hearing officer appointed by the superintendent.
If the hearing officer imposes a long-term suspension or expulsion, the parent and student shall have 3 school business days after receiving the hearing decision to appeal that decision to the board. The long-term suspension or expulsion may be imposed during the appeal period for no more than 10 consecutive school days or until the appeal is decided, whichever is the shortest period.
(WAC180-40-290, -300, -305, -310, and -315)
If you wish to contest the imposition of this discipline, you may request a hearing on this matter within 10 school business days after your receipt of this letter. If the superintendent does not receive a request within the 10 school business days, your right to a hearing will have been waived.
If a request for a hearing within the required 10 school business days is received, a hearing will commence within 3 school business days after the receipt of the request for hearing. The student and parent(s) shall have the right to inspect in advance any documentary and other evidence which the school district intends to introduce at the hearing, be represented by legal council, question and confront witnesses, present his/her explanation of the alleged misconduct, and present witnesses and documentary and other physical evidence as he/she desires. The school district shall have the right to inspect in advance of the hearing any documentary or other physical evidence that the student and his/her parent(s) or guardian(s) intend to introduce at the hearing. Either a tape-recorded or verbatim record of the hearing shall be made. Within one school business day after the date of the conclusion of the hearing, a decision shall be rendered, and the student’s legal counsel or the student and his/her parent(s) or guardian(s) shall be notified by certified mail. An emergency expulsion may be continued following the hearing on the basis that the emergency situation continues and/or as corrective action or punishment for the action(s) giving rise to the emergency expulsion in the first instance.
If the student or his/her parent(s) or guardian(s) desire to appeal the hearing decision, a notice shall be provided to the school district superintendent within 3 school business days after the date of receipt of the appeal decision. The emergency expulsion may be continued during the appeal period for so long as the student continues to pose an immediate and continuing danger to the student, other students, or school personnel or an immediate and continuing threat of substantial disruption of the educational process of the student’s school. The board will hold an informal conference to review the matter within 10 school business days upon receipt of the appeal in order to decide upon the most appropriate means of disposing of the appeal. If the school board decides to hear the appeal, due process shall be the same as noted above with the hearing process. The board shall agree to one of the following procedures prior to adjournment or recess: study the hearing record or other material submitted and render its decision within 10 school business days after the date of the informal conference, or schedule and hold a meeting to hear further arguments based on the record before the board and render its decision with in 15 school business days after the date of the informal conference, or schedule and hold a meeting within 10 school business days after the date of the informal conference for the purpose of hearing the case de novo. In that case due process shall be the same as noted above.