School Level Appeal Process for Out-of-School Suspension

  • If a student or parent/guardian believes a proposed disciplinary action is unfair or that the allegations are unfounded, the student or parent may request a formal appeal.  The formal appeal may be initiated verbally or in writing and presented to the principal within three (3) school days of the discipline decision.  Verbal requests for appeals must be followed up in writing.  The written appeal should:
    • Briefly state the facts involved;
    • State a proposed solution to the problem,
    • Be copied to the school staff member(s) involved.
  • Once the principal has received the signed grievance/request for appeal, the suspension may be lifted until the matter is resolved.  Participation in extracurricular activities including sports may be suspended during the appeal process.
  • If parents’/guardians’ request for an appeal is not received within three (3) school days after receiving notice of the corrective action or discipline being proposed, the school will impose the proposed consequence, and parents/guardians will not have any further opportunity to appeal the matter.
  • The principal or designee will review the grievance and meet with the student and parent or guardian for the appeal.  During the appeal, the student has the right to question the allegations against him or her, provide written statements from witnesses, and respond to any written witness statements (in which the names any student witnesses are redacted and held confidential).
  • Parent/guardian should be provided with redacted copies of witness statements, social media printouts, etc. upon request. A parent/guardian may request copies of videotape surveillance; however, they will be responsible for the cost associated with redacting the video thereby protecting student confidentiality.
  • For students with disabilities (Section 504 and IDEA, excluding gifted only), a Manifestation Determination Meeting (MDM) must convene within ten (10) days of any decision to change placement and prior to the 11th day of removal of the student from his/her current educational placement.  In cases of infractions involving 6 or more days of OSS or expulsion, please refer to the next section.
  • When disciplinary infractions for students with disabilities involve weapons, drugs, or serious bodily injury, placement in an interim alternative educational setting for up to 45 days is allowed (State Board of Education Rule 6A-603312).
  • For suspensions of 1 to 5 days, the principal’s decision regarding the appeal shall be final.  In the case of 6 to 10 days of OSS or recommended expulsion, the principal’s decision may be further appealed to the Superintendent or designee.

District Level Discipline Appeals
Six or More Days of Out-of-School Suspension (OSS) without Recommendation for Expulsion
In cases of suspension for six (6) or more days, the principal’s decision may be further appealed to the Superintendent or designee. The Superintendent or designee may uphold, reverse, or modify the suspension. The following process is used:

  • Prior to any district level appeal of OSS, the matter must FIRST be heard at the school level (except when the OSS is accompanied by a recommendation for expulsion).
  • If the principal upholds the recommended suspension. The parent/guardian or student may request an appeal hearing from the Superintendent or designee.
  • This request must occur within three (3) school days after the school level appeal. The request for an appeal hearing may be initiated in writing or verbally. Verbal requests must, however, be followed up in writing.
  • The Superintendent level appeal will be scheduled at the District School Board of Pasco County office in Land O’Lakes.
  • If the request for an appeal is not received within three (3) school days, the school will then proceed with the recommended proposed suspension, and student or parents/guardians will not have any further opportunity to appeal the matter.
  • The student will return to school pending the District Level Appeal. The Superintendent or designee may ban a student from campus during formal appeal if he/she believes the student’s presence on campus would be a continuing danger or disruption.  In such cases, the appeal shall be expedited.
  • The appeal process will not reinstate participation in extracurricular activities.
  • The decision of the Superintendent’s designee is final on an OSS appeal.

OSS with Recommendations for Expulsion Process

  • The Superintendent or designee may ban a student from campus during formal appeal if he/she believes the student’s presence on campus would be a continuing danger or disruption.  In such cases, the appeal shall be expedited.
  • The appeal process will not reinstate participation in extracurricular activities.
  • If a parent/guardian does not agree with the decision reached at a district level discipline appeal hearing regarding the recommended expulsion, the parent/guardian may formally appeal the recommendation for expulsion at the next regularly scheduled meeting of the School Board, by requesting an open or closed hearing before the Board.  This must be done in writing within three (3) days after receiving the Superintendent or designee’s decision at the conclusion of the hearing.  Otherwise, the decision made by the Hearing Officer will remain in effect for the time specified at the conclusion of the hearing.  The decision of the Board is final.

Parent/Guardian and Student Rights
Parent/guardian rights during the discipline appeal process include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • The parent/guardian or student has the right to inspect any written or physical evidence that the school may present at the hearing, including witness statements in which the names of student witnesses are redacted and held confidential.
  • The parent/guardian or student may arrange to be represented by an attorney or advocate at private, not public, expense. An attorney or advocate is not necessary for a fair resolution of the matter.  Parents/guardians must notify the Superintendent or designee as soon as possible if they plan to be represented by an attorney or advocate.
  • The parent/guardian or student may provide witnesses or any written or physical evidence that supports the student’s case, including written statements from witnesses who saw or have knowledge of the incident in question.
  • The parent/guardian or student has the right to ask questions and present his or her explanation of the alleged misconduct.

School’s Rights During District Level Discipline Appeals

  • The school administrator or other person presenting the school’s case has the right to inspect and question any written or physical evidence that the parent(s) or guardian(s) may be present at the hearing.
  • School personnel shall not be held legally responsible for suspensions and recommendations for expulsion made in good faith.

At the District Level Discipline Appeal Hearing

  • The participants at the hearing will be limited to those with a relevant interest in the matter at hand, as determined by the Superintendent or designee.
  • Only the evidence presented at the hearing will be used to make a decision. No information may be provided to the Superintendent or designee outside of the hearing.
  • The person hearing the case must be neutral. He or she cannot be a witness to the incident that resulted in discipline or testify in the hearing.
  • The Superintendent or designee will provide a written decision. This written decision will be provided at the end of the hearing or sent to the student or parent/guardian within approximately one calendar week, and shall include notice of the right of due process appeal to the school board.

If the parent/guardian does not appeal the Superintendent or designee’s recommendation to the School Board, said decision is final and not subject to further appeal, negotiation, or amendment by any party. Said placement decision will be considered the final Board action.

If the parent appeals the school’s recommendation for expulsion directly to the Board, the decision of the School Board will be considered to be final.

The Superintendent, or designee, may ban a student from campus and/or participation in any school sponsored activity during a formal appeal if it is believed that the student’s presence on campus would be a continuing danger or disruption. In such cases, the appeal shall be expedited.

Students who are serving out-of-school suspension or expelled shall be excluded from all District or school sponsored activities taking place at any District School Board of Pasco County school or campus, at any school function or on any school sponsored transportation, including but not limited to extracurricular, co-curricular, student organizations, graduation ceremonies, dances, and other events.

A minor who has been suspended or expelled from school may not be or remain in a public place (including school bus stops), in any establishment, or within 1,000 feet of a school during the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. during any school day.
(Pasco County Ordinance sec. 66-153)

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Reteaching question(s):

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