STUDENT DISCIPLINARY HEARING
District level due process hearings are conducted by the Student Disciplinary Hearing Officer who hears evidence concerning charges of student misconduct, and if proven, may require consequences greater than a ten school-day suspension.
The Student Discipline Hearing Officer has the authority to issue a short-term suspension, long-term suspension, assignment to the alternative school, expulsion or permanent expulsion of any student found to have violated the Code of Conduct. If a hearing is called, the student may be suspended from school until the hearing can be held. The hearing should be held no later than ten (10) school days after the beginning of the suspension unless the parent and school mutually agree to an extension or the conduct of the student or parent causes a delay beyond said ten (10)-day period. Prior to the hearing, students and parents will receive a notice to include the following:
- The rules or policies which the student has allegedly violated.
- A description of the student’s acts.
- The names of the witnesses who may testify against the student (witnesses may be added prior to and during the hearing).
- The maximum disciplinary response that the student could receive.
- The time and place for the hearing.
- That the student is entitled to request witnesses to be present at the hearing and the student will have the right to present evidence, examine any and all witnesses presented and have an attorney, at the hearing, students and parents will have the right to present witnesses and evidence, to examine any and all witnesses presented, and to have an attorney, at the parent’s expense, to represent the student. School administrators should be notified prior to the hearing if a subpoena is to be issued by the Superintendent.
At the hearing, students and parents will have the right to present witnesses and evidence, to examine any and all witnesses presented, and to have an attorney, at the parent’s expense, to represent the student. The decision of the Student Discipline Hearing Officer may be appealed by submitting a written notice of appeal to the Superintendent within twenty (20) calendar days from the date the decision is made. The appeal should be sent to the attention of the Superintendent at 130 Trinity Avenue, Atlanta, Georgia 30303.
A student disciplinary hearing is formal, although the strict rules of evidence as applied in a court do not apply in a disciplinary hearing. The Student Discipline Hearing Officer will determine the innocence or guilt of a student accused of violating the Student Code of Conduct. Although the school has the burden of establishing guilt, the student should be prepared to present evidence and witnesses to support their innocence.
The hearing officer will make a verbatim record of any information orally presented at the hearing. All statements and documentary evidence shall be kept on file by the Superintendent or designee for a period of twenty (20) days after the date of the disciplinary hearing if no appeal is filed and for an additional thirty (30) days after the completion of an appeal, at which time all items will be destroyed. Audio recordings of hearings will be destroyed on the twenty-first (21) day if there is no appeal filed. A transcript of the hearing will not be prepared unless there is an appeal to the Georgia Department of Education.
All parties shall be afforded an opportunity to present and respond to evidence and to examine and cross-examine witnesses about any matters logically relevant to the charge against the student. The hearing officer may limit unproductively long or irrelevant questioning. The parents or legal guardian of the student and any victims may give testimony at the hearing and make a statement to the Student Disciplinary Tribunal concerning their feelings about the proper disposition of the case and to answer any questions. The student may be represented by counsel at the student’s expense at the hearing. If parents intend to be represented by counsel at the disciplinary hearing, the parents must notify the Office of Student Discipline forty eight (48) hours prior to the start of the hearing so that the school district may elect to retain legal counsel to represent its interests.
All parties shall be entitled to subpoena witnesses for the hearing. A student or parent/guardian shall submit all requests for subpoenas to the Office of Student Discipline at least forty-eight (48) hours prior to the time of the disciplinary hearing.
All student disciplinary proceedings and hearings conducted by either the Student Disciplinary Hearing Officer or the Board of Education are confidential and are not subject to the open meetings law. Any written records, transcripts, exhibits or other documents assembled or used in any manner with regard to the conduct of any student disciplinary hearing are not public records and are not subject to public inspection.
When a hearing is appealed, the Atlanta Board of Education will review the record of the hearing, make a decision based solely on the record, and notify students and parents, in writing, of the Board’s decision. The decision of the Board of Education will be based solely on the record created during the hearing. The Board will not consider any new evidence or hear any oral arguments; however, written arguments concerning the merits of the appeal may be submitted. The Board will make its decision in Executive Session after receipt of the written notice of appeal. The Board has the power to affirm, reverse, or modify the hearing officer’s decision. Students and parents may appeal the Board’s decision to the State Board of Education by giving the Superintendent written notice within thirty (30) days of the decision of the Atlanta Board of Education.
WAIVER OF STUDENT DISCIPLINARY HEARING
A parent/guardian and student may choose to waive the student disciplinary hearing and accept the school’s recommended disciplinary response for the violation of the code of conduct by reviewing and signing a disciplinary hearing waiver prior to the scheduled disciplinary hearing date.
Any efforts to negotiate the school’s disciplinary recommendation relative to the incident should be concluded prior to the signing of the waiver in which the stated rule violation(s) and disciplinary recommendations are noted. By signing and submitting a hearing waiver to the school, the parent/guardian and student agree to and accept the disciplinary recommendation of the school and waive their rights to challenge and/or appeal the waiver at a later date.
A disciplinary waiver is not final until reviewed and approved by the Office of Student Discipline.