HEARINGS BEFORE A HEARING EXAMINER



VII.    Hearing Procedures


        A.    Student Disposition Pending Hearing

                1.    When Immediate Suspension is Allowed

                        When the Notice to Discipline by Long-term Suspension, Expulsion, or Mandatory Reassignment is filed with the Superintendent, 
                        the student may be suspended immediately if:

                        a.    No hearing is requested; or

                        b.    If a hearing is requested, whenever the principal determines that the student must be excluded immediately to prevent or 
                                substantially reduce the risk of:

                                (1)    Interference with an educational function or school purpose; or

                                (2)    A personal injury to the student himself or herself, other students, school employees, or school volunteers.

                2.    No Hearing Requested Within Five (5) Days

                        If a hearing is not requested by the student or the student's parent(s) or guardian(s) within five (5) school days following receipt of 
                        written notice, the punishment recommended in the charge by the principal or his/her designee will automatically go into effect 
                        upon the fifth (5th) school day following receipt of the written notice by the student or his/her parent(s) or guardian(s).

        B.    Hearing Requested

                1.    Hearing Requested Beyond Five (5) School Days

                        If a hearing is requested more than five (5) school days, but not more than thirty (30) calendar days following the actual receipt of     
                        the Notification of Long-Term Suspension, the Notification of Expulsion, or the Notification of Mandatory Reassignment forms, 
                        the hearing shall be held but the imposed punishment shall continue in effect pending final determination.

                2.    Hearing Requested: Appointment of Hearing Examiner

                        The Director of Student Services will appoint a hearing examiner who will, within two (2) school days after being appointed, give         
                        written notice to the principal, the student, and the student's parent(s) or guardian(s) of the time and place of the hearing. 
                        Additionally:

                        a.    The hearing shall be scheduled within a period of five (5) school days after it is requested, but the time may be changed by the 
                               hearing examiner for good cause.

                        b.    No hearing shall be held less than two (2) school days' after actual notice to the principal, the student, and the student's 
                               parent(s) or guardian(s), except with the consent of all parties.

        C.    Settlement

                Nothing in the discipline proceedings is to preclude the student or student's parent(s), guardian(s), or representative(s) from discussing 
                and settling the matter with the appropriate school personnel prior to the hearing stage. If a settlement is reached, the Agreement to 
                Discipline and Waiver of Hearing form (Appendix III-C9) must be completed and signed. DO NOT STOP any procedural requirements 
                unless and until this form is completed and signed. 

        D.    Preparation for Hearing

                1.    The school should prepare a hearing packet for the hearing and include the following exhibits:

                        a.    Suspension form

                                Copy of the Notice of Long-Term Suspension form, Notice of Expulsion form, or Notice of Mandatory Reassignment form 
                                sent to the student and parent(s).

                        b.    Hearing Request

                                Copy of Hearing Request form, parent rights forms, and all other information sent to the student and parent(s) or guardian(s),     
                                including all letters from the Director of Student Services and Hearing Examiner.

                        c.    Student Handbook

                                Copy of the school’s Student Handbook.

                        d.    Receipt

                                Copy of the student receipt for the student acknowledging receipt of the Student Handbook.

                        e.    District Policies and Rules

                                Complete copies of the school policy or District Policy or Rules used to discipline. Also include District Policies and Rules 
                                5000, 5300, 5300.2, 5400, 5400.1, and 5400.6.

                        f.    Written Statements/Affidavits

                                Copy of any and all affidavits or written statements given by students and staff. NOTE: Affidavits can be considered as 
                                evidence. (Original affidavits to be included in packet for hearing officer.)

                        g.    Witnesses

                                Witnesses should be encouraged to testify at the hearing if they make convincing witnesses. Witnesses cannot be subpoenaed.

                        h.    Student Records

                                Use any of the following student records when the records contribute to the administration's case:

                                    (1)    Disciplinary records;

                                    (2)    Academic records;

                                    (3)    Attendance records;

                                    (4)    Testing results; 

                                    (5)    Psychological records;

                                    (6)    Special education records or 504 Plans; and

                                    (7)    Manifestation determination results.

                        i.    Tangible Evidence

                                Any tangible evidence (e.g., writings, weapons, drugs, drug paraphernalia, etc.).


            2.    The hearing packet needs to be neat and well organized. The following suggestions will assist you in developing the hearing packet:

                    a..    Organize exhibits in the order that they will be presented at the hearing;

                    b.    Number each exhibit consecutively at the top preceded by "Exhibit" (i.e., "Exhibit 1");

                    c.    Draft a Table of Contents;

                    d.    Use a theme binder with cover.

                    e.    Hearing officer’s packet should include original documents if possible.

        E.    Hearing

                1.    Distribution of the Hearing Packet

                        a.    The student and student's parent(s) or guardian(s) must be given the hearing packet a couple of days before the hearing. 
                               Attorneys for students usually request a copy of the evidence packet several days before the hearing; provide it upon request. 
                               Regardless of whether the packet is requested, it is the school’s responsibility to make the hearing packet available to the 
                               parent.

                        b.    Provide the hearing examiner the packet at the time of the hearing. The hearing examiner's packet should contain the originals. 
                               Retain an identical packet for use at the hearing.


            2.    Hearing Procedures

                    a.    Required attendance at the hearing:

                            (1)    Hearing examiner;

                            (2)    Accused student;

                            (3)    Accused student's parent(s) or guardian(s).

                    b.    Option attendance at the hearing:

                            (1)    Accused student's representative(s) (who may be an attorney), if any; and

                            (2)    Legal counsel for the administration if the hearing examiner, Superintendent, or Director of Student Services deems it 
                                     advisable. Ref. § 79-273.


            3.    Witnesses

                    a.    When Present

                            Witnesses shall be present only when they are giving information at the hearing.

                    b.    Witness Testimony

                            The student, the student's parent(s), guardian(s), or representative(s), the principal, or the hearing examiner may ask witnesses to     
                            testify at the hearing. 
                    
                    c.    Oath

                            The testimony is to be under oath, and the hearing examiner is authorized to administer the oath.

                    d.    Attendance of Witnesses

                            The hearing examiner must make reasonable efforts to assist the student or the student's parent(s), guardian(s), or 
                            representative(s) in obtaining the attendance of witnesses.

                    e.    Cross-examination
    
                            The student, the student's parent(s), guardian(s), or representative(s), the principal, or the hearing examiner have the right to 
                            question any witness giving information at the hearing.

                    f.    Immunity

                            Any person giving evidence by written statement or in person at a hearing is to be given the same immunity from liability as a 
                            person testifying in a court case.

                4.    Student Testimony

                            The student may speak in his/her own defense and may be questioned on his or her testimony, but he or she may choose not to 
                            testify and, in such case, is not to be threatened with punishment nor be later punished for refusal to testify. 

                5.    Excluded Individuals

                        Individuals may be excluded from the hearing under the following circumstances:

                        a.    Student

                                The student may be excluded in the discretion of the hearing examiner at times when the student's psychological evaluation or 
                                emotional problems are being discussed.

                        b.    Any Other Person

                                The hearing examiner may exclude anyone from the hearing when his or her actions substantially disrupt an orderly hearing.

                6.    Evidence on Student's Conduct and Records

                        a.    The principal must present to the hearing examiner, statements in affidavit form, of any person having information about the 
                                student's conduct and the student's records, but not unless such statements and records have been made available to the student 
                                or  the student's parent(s), guardian(s), or representative(s) prior to the hearing. 

                        b.    The information contained in such records must be explained and interpreted, prior to or at the hearing, to the student, 
                               parent(s), guardian(s), or representative(s), upon request, by appropriate school personnel.

                7.    Rules of Evidence

                        The hearing examiner is not bound by the rules of evidence or any other rule of courtroom procedure.


                8.    Recorded at District Expense

                        The proceedings of the hearing are to be recorded at District expense.

    F.    Post-Hearing Procedures

            1.    Post-Hearing Report

                    After the hearing, the hearing examiner must prepare a report containing findings and a recommendation of the action to be taken,         
                    which report shall explain, in terms of the needs of both the student and the District, the reasons for the particular action 
                    recommended. The recommendation may range from no action, through the entire field of counseling, to long-term suspension, 
                    expulsion, mandatory reassignment, or an alternative educational placement.


            2.    Superintendent's Review

                    A review must be made of the hearing examiner's report by the Superintendent or the Superintendent's designee (the Director of 
                    Student Services) who may change, revoke, or impose the sanction recommended by the hearing examiner, but shall not impose a 
                    sanction more severe than that recommended by the hearing examiner.


            3.    All Decisions Based on Evidence

                    The findings and recommendations of the hearing examiner, the determination by the Superintendent (or designee), and any 
                    determination on appeal to the Board of Education is to be made solely on the basis of the evidence presented at the hearing and/or 
                    any new evidence presented on appeal to the Board provided such new evidence is necessary to avoid a substantial threat of injustice. 

    G.    Final Disposition

            1.    Written Notice

                    Written notice of the findings and recommendations of the hearing examiner and the determination of the Superintendent (or     
                    designee) must be made by certified or registered mail, or by personal delivery, to the student or the student's parent(s) or guardian(s).


    H.    Immediate Effect Upon Receipt

            1.    Upon receipt of such written notice by the student and the student's parent(s) and/or guardian(s), the determination of the 
                    Superintendent (or designee) takes immediate effect.