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Superintendent Hearings - NYS Education law section 3214
What is a Superintendents Hearing?
Section 3214 requires that for all suspensions for more than five days that a hearing be provided for the student. The school district must present sufficient evidence to sustain an allegation against the student at the hearing. If an allegation is established, the hearing officer will determine the appropriate level of discipline against the student. Typically the hearing is two parts the fact finding part where the allegations against the student are either substantiated or not (guilt/innocence) and the penalty phase where certain evidence can be produced such as the childs previous behavioral issues/disciplinary record/character in determining the appropriate conduct. A record will be made of the entire hearing by either a court stenographer or audio recording.
At the superintendents hearing, the student has the right to be represented by an attorney. At this hearing the student and/or their attorney has the right to question any witnesses produced to testify against the student. The student is also afforded the opportunity to call his or her own witnesses and the right to examine the content of the student’s school file typically referred at as the students anectodal record.
Typical questions parents have regarding Superintendent hearings:
What is the difference between a principals suspension and a Superintendents suspension?
A building principal typically has the ability to suspend a student anywhere from one (1) to five (5) days whereas a Superintendents suspension can run anywhere from five (5) days to one (1) year and can sometimes even seek the expulsion of a student from school but would require a hearing as indicated above.
What is a manifestation hearing?
In any matter where the student being accused is deemed a special ed student the district must make a determination as to whether or not that students alleged conduct was the "manifestation" of that students disability. This is also sometimes referred to as a "nexus" determination. If it is determined that said conduct was a manifestation of that students disability or a "nexus" than no disciplinary action can be taken against that student.
Can Superintendent Hearings be resolved without a hearing?
YES! In many cases these matters can be resolved without the need of conducting a hearing and in some instances without any admission or finding of guilt required by a hearing
Can my child be suspended from school for conduct occurring outside the school?
School districts have been granted wide latitude in suspending students for conduct which happens even off school property - typically for any conduct which can be seen as effecting the "educational process".
Can you appeal a decision made at the Superintendents Hearing?
Yes - Appeals can be made within 30 days of the hearing officers decision to the Board of Education for that particular school district and that decision can be appealed within 30 days of the Boards decision to the New York State Education Department Office of Counsel - their website can be found at www.counsel.nysed.gov
What can I do about my child being bullied? What is DASA?
New York State has the dignity for all students’ act (DASA). This is legislation passed by the state which requires schools to provide students with a safe and supportive environment, free from discrimination, intimidation, taunting, harassment and bullying on school property, a school bus or at any school function. The law requires that schools take action to prevent bullying and respond appropriately to any claims of bullying. School websites typically have a DASA form that can be completed and then submitted to the schools DASA coordinator.
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