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IEP Considerations

Individualized Education Program (IEP) Considerations 

What is an Individualized Education Program (IEP)?

An Individualized Education Program, also known as an IEP, is required by a law called the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). An IEP defines the individualized objectives of a child who has been found to have a disability, as defined by federal regulations.

Short (1-5 day) and Medium (6-10 day) Suspensions

If you are a student with an IEP and you violate school rules, your school can suspend you for up to 10 days of the school year. The principal decides if suspension is the right punishment. During the suspension, your school does not have to provide services to you unless your school provides services to a student without disabilities who has been suspended like you.

Long-Term Suspensions (11-90 days) and Expulsions

If you have an IEP, your school system cannot impose a long-term suspension or expel you if the behavior you are in trouble for was a “manifestation of” your disability. Your behavior can be a manifestation of your disability in two ways: (1) the behavior was directly related to your disability; or (2) the behavior happened because your school did not give you what you needed from your IEP.

But if your behavior has do to with weapons, illegal drugs, or serious injury to someone, your school can send you somewhere else for school for up to 45 school days. Your school can do this even if you have an IEP and even if the behavior was a manifestation of your disability.

Short-term Suspensions: 1-5 Days

THE CONFERENCE: YOUR RIGHT TO TELL YOUR SIDE OF THE STORY

In this section you will find:

I.          Overview of your right to a conference

II.        Checklist: Did you have a chance to tell your side of the story?

III.      What can do if you think you did not get the chance to defend yourself?

I.  OVERVIEW OF YOUR RIGHT TO A CONFERENCE

When you get suspended the school must give you the opportunity to hear why they are suspending you and give you a chance to tell your side of the story.

If the school does not: give you the chance to meet with the school official proposing the suspension, hear the evidence against you, and/or to let you say why you think you should not be suspended – you have been denied the right to a conference.

The law requires the school to hold a conference before it makes a decision to suspend you. If your school suspended you and didn't do everything it was supposed to do when it held a conference, then you can appeal the suspension and try to get the suspension thrown out.

Remember, at your conference you may also have your parent/guardian, a lawyer and/or a legal representative. 

II.  CHECKLIST: DID YOU HAVE A CHANCE TO TELL YOUR SIDE OF THE STORY?

How can you find out if the school you a chance to tell your side of the story? Go through this checklist to find out if the school followed the rules in giving you a conference:

✔     Were you given a conference with the school official who recommended the suspension prior to being suspended?

✔     Were you informed of your right to appeal?

✔     Did the school official give a description of the event that led to the recommendation of the suspension and a citation of what exact rules were broken?

✔     Were you given the opportunity to present your version of events?

✔     Was your principal’s authorization of the short-term suspension submitted to a person designated by the Chancellor (Instructional Superintendent) within one (1) school day of the decision?

✔     At your conference did you discuss ALL of the following:

  • The rule which they say you violated.
  • An explanation of the facts or evidence that are being used against you
  • An explanation of why your behavior is in violation of the rules
  • You must be given an opportunity to tell your version of events or give your explanation of the facts

✔    You must be told that you have the right to appeal the decision if you don't agree with it.

✔    A statement must be made informing your parent or legal guardian that they have the right to examine your records and any official report of the incident. 

After you have had an opportunity to present your version of events, your principal will decide on the recommended disciplinary action. The principal authorizing the short-term suspension must submit the authorization to a person designated by the Chancellor (Instructional Superintendent) within one (1) school day of the decision.

III.  HOW TO CHALLENGE A SUSPENSION BECAUSE YOU DIDN'T GET A CHANCE TO DEFEND YOURSELF

A parent or guardian can appeal a suspension to the principal within two (2) school days of receiving the written notice. The appeal can also be made before you receive the written notice of the suspension.  If you make the appeal verbally, the person who receives the request has to put it in writing.

SAMPLE APPEAL LETTER

After the parent or guardian submits the appeal the principal has one (1) school day to hear the appeal.  The parent or legal guardian can request to delay the appeal hearing up to three (3) days.  This appeal can be held by telephone if  the legal guardian cannot attend the hearing in person due to health, work or child care issues.

TIMELINE OF APPEALS FOR SUSPENSIONS

At the appeal the student and his or her parent or legal guardian can present evidence and ask for witnesses to speak.  The appeal is an opportunity to present arguments again, gather new facts, and point out if there has been any failure to abide by the rules in carrying out the suspension.

TIPS ON PREPARING FOR YOUR APPEAL

At the conclusion of the appeal, the principal will give their final decision.  Within one (1) school day of the conference conclusion, the person designated by the Chancellor (Instructional Superintendent) must give the student, their parent or legal guardian, and the head of the Office of Youth Engagement a written summary of the conference proceedings, including the final decision.  

WHAT TO DO IF YOU LOSE YOUR APPEAL

If after the appeal, the principal still decides that a short-term suspension is appropriate disciplinary action, students can make up class, homework assignments, and exams without penalty.

 

Initial Notification : 1-5 Day Suspension

 In this section you will find:

 I.   Overview of Notice Requirements

 II.   Checklist: Did you receive notice?

 III.   How to challenge a suspension because you didn't receive notice.

I.  OVERVIEW OF NOTICE REQUIREMENTS

When you get suspended, the school has to tell you why you are suspended and for how long. If they don't tell you all of the information that you need in order to understand your punishment, then you won't be able to defend yourself. The law requires the school to tell you this information about your punishment by giving you something called “notice.”

If your school suspended you, and it didn't do everything it was supposed to do when it gave you, “notice” then you can appeal the suspension and try to get it thrown out.

II.  CHECKLIST: DID YOU RECEIVE NOTICE?

Here is what your school is required to do when it gives you a short-term suspension:

✔    Verbal notice- the school has to tell your parent or guardian on the phone or in-person that you were suspended.

✔    If you get suspended and you are older than fourteen the school must notify your parent or guardian of the suspension before they release you from school. If your parent or guardian can't be reached, you must not leave the school until the end of the school-day.

✔    Written Notice- the school has to give your parent or guardian something in writing that says you were suspended.

✔    The written notice must include all of the following:

  • Notice that the parent or legal guardian can appeal the short-term suspension directly to the principal.
  • Notice to the parent or legal guardian that the request for an appeal must be made within 2 days of receiving the notice. 
  • A description of the violation that the student is accused of.
  • The rules on which the punishment is based and/or justified.
  • A summary of facts.
  • The length of the suspension.

III.HOW TO CHALLENGE A SUSPENSION BECAUSE YOU DIDN'T RECEIVE NOTICE

If the school did not provide you with notice by meeting all of the requirements you can challenge your suspension by filing an appeal. Your parent or guardian can appeal a suspension to the principal within two (2) school days of receiving the written notice.  The appeal can also be made before you receive the written notice of the suspension.  If you make the appeal verbally, the person who receives the request has to put in writing what you said.

Decide what type of appeal to file: Make sure that the school has suspended you properly.  If the school didn't do everything they were supposed to do, then you can appeal on the basis of the school's failure to follow the required steps.  If the school did everything they were supposed to do you can appeal the suspension on the basis of the facts.  Remember, the school itself must prove that the violation occurred. 

TIPS ON PREPARING FOR YOUR APPEAL

Write a letter to appeal the suspension:

SAMPLE APPEAL LETTER FOR BALLOU

SAMPLE APPEAL LETTER FOR ANACOSTIA

SAMPLE APPEAL LETTER FOR WOODSON

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE APPEALS PROCESS



Written Notification: 1-5 day suspension

In this section you will find:

I.  Overview of your right to a written notice

II.  Checklist: Did you get receive a letter from the school telling you about the short term suspension?

III.  What can do if you did not receive written notice?

IV.  Definitions of key terms

I.  Overview of your right to a written notice 

After your parent or guardian has been given verbal notice of your suspension, the school must also give them written notice of the suspension (like email, certified mail, or hand­ delivered mail with a signature receipt).

Your school must give written notice within one (1) school day after the principal authorizes your suspension.

The written notice from the school must include the following:

  1. Inform your parent or guardian that they can challenge (or appeal) the suspension to the principal
  2. Inform your parent or guardian that the request for an appeal must be made within two (2) days of receiving the notice
  3. A description of your behavior that the disciplinary action is based on
  4. The school rule that you violated and a summary of facts
  5. The length of the suspension
  6. The principal’s recommendation for an Education Plan or Alternative Educational Setting

Checklist:

✔    Did you receive both verbal and written notification within one (1) school day of the principal’s decision?

✔    Did the written notice contain all the necessary components (as listed in the section above)?
✔    Was the written notice in your parent or guardian's preferred language?

Appeal: How To Submit an Appeal

HOW TO APPEAL A SHORT TERM SUSPENSION (1-5 DAYS)

If the school did not meet any or all of the requirements when suspending you, there is a way to challenge your suspension by filing an appeal. 

Your parent or guardian can appeal a suspension to the principal within two (2) school days of receiving the written notice.  

The appeal can also be made before you receive the written notice of the suspension.  If you make the appeal verbally, the person who receives the request has to put what you said in writing.

Your principal must hear the appeal within one (1) school day after the appeal is requested. Your parent or legal guardian can request to delay the appeal hearing by up to three (3) days.

This appeal can be held by telephone, if your parent or legal guardian cannot attend the hearing in person due to health, work, or child care issues.

Please visit the forms and samples section of our site to view sample appeal letters which can be printed, filled out, and turned into the principal or superintendent.  

TIPS ON PREPARING FOR YOUR APPEAL

Write a letter to appeal the suspension:

SHORT-TERM APPEAL LETTER TEMPLATE

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE APPEALS PROCESS

If you need help understanding your situation and what options you may have contact us for more information!

 

Appeal: What To Do In An Appeal

Short-Term Suspensions

At the appeal, you and your parent or guardian can present evidence and ask witnesses to speak. The appeal is an opportunity to present arguments again, gather new facts, and point out if there was any failure to abide by the rules in carrying out the short-term suspension (like giving you notice).

At the conclusion of the appeal, your principal will give his or her final decision on whether you will be suspended. Within one (1) school day of the conference’s conclusion, the principal must give you, your parent or legal guardian, and the head of the Office of Youth Engagement a written summary of the conference proceedings, including the final decision.

Checklist:

✔    Did the principal hear your appeal within one school day (or three school days if you make the request)?

✔    Did you get a final decision and summary of the conference within one (1) school day of the conference's conclusion?

Medium-term Suspensions: 6-10 Days

MEDIUM-TERM SUSPENSIONS

THE CONFERENCE: YOUR RIGHT TO TELL YOUR SIDE OF THE STORY

In this section you will find:

I.          Overview of your right to a conference

II.        Checklist: Did you have a chance to tell your side of the story?

III.      What can you do if you think you did not get the chance to defend yourself?

I.  OVERVIEW OF YOUR RIGHT TO A CONFERENCE

When you receive a suspension of between 6 and 10 days, the school must give you the opportunity to hear why they are suspending you and give you a chance to tell your side of the story.

If the school does not: give you the chance to meet with the school official proposing the suspension, hear the evidence against you, and/or let you say why you think you should not be suspended – you have been denied the right to a conference.

The law requires the school to hold a conference before it makes a decision to suspend you. If your school suspended you, and it didn't do everything it was supposed to do when it held a conference, then you can appeal the suspension and try to get it thrown out.

Remember, at your conference you may also have your parent/guardian, a lawyer and/or a legal representative. 

II.  CHECKLIST: DID YOU HAVE A CHANCE TO TELL YOUR SIDE OF THE STORY?

How can you find out if the school gave you a chance to tell your side of the story? Go through this checklist to find out if the school followed the rules in giving you a conference:

✔     Were you given a conference with the school official, who proposed the suspension, before being suspended?

✔     Were you informed of your right to appeal?

✔     Did the school official give a description of the event that led to the recommendation of the suspension and a citation of what exact rules were broken?

✔     Were you given the opportunity to present your version of events?

✔     Was your principal’s authorization of the medium-term suspension submitted to a person designated by the Chancellor (Instructional Superintendent) immediately?

✔     At your conference did you discuss ALL of the following:

  • The rule which they say you violated.
  • An description of the facts or evidence that is being used against you
  • An explanation of why your behavior is in violation of the rules
  • You must be given an opportunity to tell your version of events or give your explanation of the facts

✔    You must be told that you have the right to appeal the decision, if you don't agree with it.

✔    A statement must be made informing your parent or legal guardian that they have the right to examine your records and any official report of the incident. 

After you have had an opportunity to present your version of events, your principal will decide on the recommended disciplinary action. The principal authorizing the medium-term suspension, must immediately after the conference submit the proposal to the Instructional Superintendent.  No more than 5 school days after receiving the principals findings, the Instructional Superintendent shall either agree with or modify the proposed medium-term suspension.

III.  HOW TO CHALLENGE A SUSPENSION BECAUSE YOU DIDN'T GET A CHANCE TO DEFEND YOURSELF

A parent or guardian can appeal a suspension to the principal within two (2) school days of receiving the written notice.  The appeal can also be made before you receive the written notice of the suspension.  If you make the appeal verbally, the person who receives the request has to put it in writing.

SAMPLE APPEAL LETTER

After the parent or guardian submits the appeal, the principal has one (1) school day to hear the appeal.  The parent or legal guardian can request to push back the appeal hearing up to three (3) days.  This appeal can be held by telephone, if  the legal guardian cannot attend the hearing in person due to health, work or child care issues.

TIMELINE OF APPEALS FOR SUSPENSIONS

At the appeal the student and his or her parent or guardian can present evidence and ask for witnesses to speak.  The appeal is an opportunity to present arguments again, gather new facts, and point out if there has been any failure to abide by the rules in carrying out the suspension.

TIPS ON PREPARING FOR YOUR APPEAL

At the conclusion of the appeal, the principal will give the final decision.  Within one (1) school day of the conference conclusion, the person designated by the  Chancellor (Instructional Superintendent) must give the student, their legal guardian and the head of the Office of Youth Engagement a written summary of the conference proceedings, including the final decision.  

WHAT TO DO IF YOU LOSE YOUR APPEAL

If after the appeal, the principal still decides that a medium-term suspension is appropriate disciplinary action, you can make up class and homework assignments and exams without penalty.

 

Initial Notification : 6-10 Day Suspension

In this section you will find:

I.   Overview of Notice Requirements

II.   Checklist: Did you receive notice?

III.   How to challenge a suspension because you didn't receive notice.

I.  OVERVIEW OF NOTICE REQUIREMENTS

When you get suspended the school has to tell you why you are suspended and for how long. If they don't tell you all of the information that you need in order to understand your punishment- then you won't be able to defend yourself. The law requires the school to tell you this information about your punishment by giving you something called “notice.”

If your school suspended you, and it didn't do everything it was supposed to do when it gave you, “notice” then you can and should appeal the suspension and try to get it thrown out.

II.  CHECKLIST: DID YOU RECEIVE NOTICE?

Here is what your school is required to do, when it gives you a medium-term suspension:

✔    Verbal notice- the school has to tell your parent or guardian on the phone or in-person that you were suspended.

✔    If you get suspended and you are older than fourteen, the school must notify your parent or guardian of the suspension before they release from school. If your parent or guardian can't be reached, you must not leave the school until the end of the school-day.

✔    Written Notice- the school has to give your parent or guardian something in writing that says you were suspended.

✔    The written notice must include all of the following:

  • Notice that the parent or legal guardian can appeal the short-term suspension directly to the person designated by the Chancellor (Instructional Superintendent).
  • Notice to the parent or legal guardian that the request for an appeal must be made within 2 days of receiving the notice.
  • A description of the violation that the student is accused of.
  • The rules on which the punishment is based and/or justified and a summary of the facts.
  • The length of the suspension.
  • The principal’s recommendation for an Education Plan or Alternative Educational Setting.

III.  HOW TO CHALLENGE A SUSPENSION BECAUSE YOU DIDN'T RECEIVE NOTICE

If the school did not provide you with notice by meeting all of the requirements, you can challenge your suspension by filing an appeal. Your parent or guardian can appeal a suspension to the principal within two (2) school days of receiving the written notice.  The appeal can also be made before you receive the written notice of the suspension.  If you make the appeal verbally, the person who receives the request has to put it in writing.

The Instructional Superintendent must hear the appeal within one (1) school day of the request for the appeal. The parent or legal guardian(s) of the student can request that the appeal be extended up to three (3) school days. The parent or legal guardian(s) can request that the appeal be held by telephone because of their health, work, or childcare situation.

Decide what type of appeal to file: Make sure that the school has suspended you properly.  If the school didn't do everything they were supposed to do, then you can appeal on the basis of the school's failure to follow the required steps.  If the school did everything they were supposed to do, then you can appeal the suspension on the basis of the facts.  Remember, the school itself must prove that the violation occurred.

TIPS ON PREPARING FOR YOUR APPEAL

Write a letter to appeal the suspension:

 

SAMPLE APPEAL LETTER FOR BALLOU

SAMPLE APPEAL LETTER FOR ANACOSTIA

SAMPLE APPEAL LETTER FOR WOODSON

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE APPEALS PROCESS

 

 

 

Written Notification: 6-10 days

In this section you will find:

I.  Overview of your right to a written notice

II.  Checklist: Did you get receive a letter from the school telling you about the medium term suspension? 

III.  What can do if you did not receive written notice?

IV.  Definitions of key terms

I.  Written Notice

After your parent or guardian has been given verbal notice of your suspension, the school must also give them written notice of the suspension (like email, certified mail, or hand­ delivered mail with a signature receipt).

Your school must give written notice within one (1) school day after the principal authorizes your suspension.

The written notice must include the following:

  1. Inform your parent or guardian that they can challenge (or appeal) the suspension to the person designated by the Chancellor (Instructional Superintendent).
  2. Inform your parent or guardian that the request for an appeal must be made within two (2) days of receiving the notice
  3. A description of your behavior that the disciplinary action is based on
  4. The school rule that you violated
  5. A summary of the facts
  6. The length of the suspension
  7. The principal’s recommendation for an Education Plan or Alternative Educational Setting

Checklist:

✔    Did you receive both verbal and written notification within one (1) school day of the principal’s decision?

✔    Did the written notice contain all the necessary components (as listed in the section above)?
✔    Was the written notice in your parent or guardian's preferred language?

Appeal A Medium Term Suspension: How to Submit an Appeal

HOW TO APPEAL A MEDIUM-TERM SUSPENSION (6-10 DAYS)

If the school did not meet any or all of the requirements when suspending your there is a way to challenge your suspension by filing an appeal. 

Your parent or guardian can appeal a suspension to the principal within two (2) school days of receiving the written notice.  

The appeal can also be made before you receive the written notice of the suspension.  If you make the appeal verbally, the person who receives the request has to put your words in writing.

Your principal must hear the appeal within one (1) school day after the appeal is requested. Your parent or legal guardian can request to delay the appeal hearing by up to three (3) days.

This appeal can be held by telephone if your parent or legal guardian cannot attend the hearing in person due to health, work, or child care issues.

Decide what type of appeal to file: Make sure that the school has suspended you properly.  If the school didn't do everything they were supposed to do then you can appeal on the basis of the school's failure to follow the required steps.  If the school did everything they were supposed to do you can appeal the suspension on the basis of the facts.  Remember, the school itself must prove that the violation occurred. 

TIPS ON PREPARING FOR YOUR APPEAL

Write a letter to appeal the suspension:

 

SAMPLE APPEAL LETTER

 

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE APPEALS PROCESS

If you need help understanding your situation and what options you may have, contact us for more information!

Appeal: What To Do In An Appeal

Medium-Term Suspensions

At the appeal, you and your parent or guardian can present evidence and ask witnesses to speak. The appeal is an opportunity to present arguments again, gather new facts, and point out if there was any failure to abide by the rules in carrying out the suspension (like giving you notice).

At the end of the conference, the person designated by the Chancellor (Instructional Superintendent) shall make his or her final decision. Within one (1) school day of the conference’s conclusion, the person designated by the Chancellor (Instructional Superintendent) must give you, your parent or legal guardian, and the head of the Office of Youth Engagement a written summary of the conference proceedings, including the final decision.

Checklist:

✔    Did the person designated by the Chancellor (Instructional Superintendent) hear your appeal within one school day (or three school days if you make the request)?

✔    Did you get a final decision and summary of the conference within one (1) school day of the conference's conclusion?

Long-term Suspensions: 11-90 Days

 In this section you will find:

I.  Overview of your right to a conference

II.  Checklist: Did you have a chance to tell your side of the story?

III.  What can you do if you think you did not get the chance to defend yourself?

IV.  Definitions of key terms

I.  OVERVIEW OF YOUR RIGHT TO A CONFERENCE

Before you can be suspended for between 11 and 90 days the school must hold a conference in which you and the school official proposing the suspension must be present.

YOU CAN ALSO HAVE:

Your parent/guardian, a lawyer and/or a legal representative present.

II.  CHECKLIST: DID YOU HAVE A CHANCE TO TELL YOUR SIDE OF THE STORY?

How can you find out if the school gave you a chance to tell your side of the story? Go through this checklist to find out if your school gave you a proper disciplinary hearing:

✔  Were you given a conference with the school official who recommended the suspension prior to being suspended?

✔  Were you informed of your right to appeal?

✔  Did the school official give a description of the event(s) that led to the     recommendation of the suspension and a citation of what exact rules were broken?

✔  Were you given the opportunity to present your version of events?

✔ Was your principal’s authorization of the long-term suspension submitted to a person designated by the Chancellor (Instructional Superintendent) within one (1) school day of the decision?  A long term suspension may be proposed by the principal and authorized only by a person designated by the Chancellor (Instructional Superintendent).

✔  At your conference did you discuss ALL of the following:

  • The rule which they say you violated;
  • An explanation of the facts or evidence that is being used against you;
  • And an explanation of why your behavior is in violation of the rules.
  • You must be given an opportunity to tell your version of events or give your explanation of the facts.
  • You must be told that you have the right to appeal the decision, if you do not agree with it.
  • A statement must be made informing your parent or legal guardian that they have the right to examine your records and any official report of the incident.
  • The principal must inform the student and their legal guardian in writing about the disciplinary hearing procedures, the right to appeal, the supportive programs available to the student and any requirements for readmission.           

After you have had an opportunity to present your version of events, your principal will decide on the recommended disciplinary action. The principal authorizing the long term suspension must immediately submit the authorization to the Instructional Superintendent, who is designated by the DC Public School Chancellor.  

Additionally, the principal must give a written report of the findings and recommendations from the conference to the student and their parent or legal guardian and the Instructional Superintendent.  

Within five (5) school days of receiving the principal's recommendations, the Instructional Superintendent must either agree with or change the proposed disciplinary action.

III.  HOW TO CHALLENGE A SUSPENSION BECAUSE YOU DIDN'T GET A CHANCE TO DEFEND YOURSELF

 A parent or guardian can appeal a suspension to the Office of Youth Engagement within five (5) school days of receiving the written notice of the long term suspension.  The appeal can also be made before you receive the written notice of the suspension.  If you make the appeal verbally, the person who receives the request has to put your words in writing.  The student can also make an appeal to the Instructional Superintendent within five (5) days of receiving the disciplinary decision.

SAMPLE APPEAL LETTER

When the Office of Youth Engagement receives the appeal, they must schedule a conference with the parent or legal guardian, for within three (3) school days of when they received the request for the appeal.

TIMELINE OF APPEALS FOR SUSPENSIONS

At the appeal the student and his or her parent or guardian can present evidence and ask for witnesses to speak.  The appeal is an opportunity to present arguments again, gather new facts, and point out if there has been any failure to abide by the rules in carrying out the suspension.

The student has the right to have a representative or lawyer present at the appeal conference.  The appeal can be held by telephone if requested by the parent or guardian.  The conference can be recorded by either the student and/or legal guardian or by the school.

 TIPS ON PREPARING FOR YOUR APPEAL

The Office of Youth Engagement has two (2) days after the conclusion of the appeal conference to make a final decision.  The head of the Office of Youth Engagement must provide the parent or guardian, or adult student, and the Instructional Superintendent with a written summary of the conference (proceedings) and the final decision.  

WHAT TO DO IF YOU LOSE YOUR APPEAL

If after the appeal the principal still decides that a long-term suspension is appropriate disciplinary action, students can make up class and homework assignments and exams without penalty. 

Initial Notification : 11-90 day suspensions

LONG-TERM SUSPENSION 11-90 DAYS

In this section you will find:

I.   Overview of Notice Requirements

II.   Checklist: Did you receive notice?

III.   How to challenge a suspension because you didn't receive notice.

I.  OVERVIEW OF NOTICE REQUIREMENTS

When you get suspended, the school has to tell you why you are suspended and for how long. If they don't tell you all of the information that you need in order to understand your punishment, then you will not be able to defend yourself. The law requires the school to tell you this information about your punishment by giving you something called “notice.”

If your school suspended you, and it didn't do everything it was supposed to do when it gave you “notice”, then you can, and should, appeal the suspension and try to get it thrown out.

II.  CHECKLIST: DID YOU RECEIVE NOTICE?

Here is what your school is required to do when it gives you a long-term suspension:

  1. Verbal notice- the school has to tell your parent or guardian on the phone or in-person that you were suspended.

  2. If you get suspended and you are older than fourteen, the school must notify your parent or guardian of the suspension before you are released from school. If your parent or guardian can't be reached, you must not leave the school until the end of the school-day.

  3. Written Notice- the school has to give your parent or guardian something in writing that says you were suspended.

  4. The written notice must include all of the following:

  • Notice that parent or legal guardian can appeal the long-term suspension directly to the principal. 
  • Notice to the parent or legal guardian that the request for an appeal must be made within five (5) days of receiving the notice. 
  • A description of the violation that the student is accused of. 
  • The rules on which the punishment is based and/or justified.
  • The length of the suspension.
  • The principal’s recommendation for an Education Plan or Alternative Educational Setting

III.  HOW TO CHALLENGE A SUSPENSION BECAUSE YOU DIDN'T RECEIVE NOTICE

If the school did not provide you with notice by meeting all of the requirements you can challenge your suspension by filing an appeal. Your parent or guardian can appeal a suspension to the principal within five (5) school days of receiving the written notice.  The appeal can also be made before you receive the written notice of the suspension.  If you make the appeal verbally, the person who receives the request has to put your words in writing.

The Instructional Superintendent must hear the appeal within three (3) school day of the request for the appeal. The parent or legal guardian(s) can request that the appeal be held by telephone because of their health, work, or childcare situation.

Decide what type of appeal to file: Make sure that the school has suspended the student properly.  If the school didn't do everything they were supposed to do, then you can appeal on the basis of the school's failure to follow the required steps.  If the school did everything they were supposed to do, you can appeal the suspension on the basis of the facts.  Remember, the school itself must prove that the violation occurred.

TIPS ON PREPARING FOR YOUR APPEAL

Write a letter to appeal the suspension:

SAMPLE APPEAL LETTER

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE APPEALS PROCESS

Disciplinary Hearing

Disciplinary Hearing

Long-Term Suspensions

I.  Scheduling the Hearing:

Within one (1) school day after approval or change of the long-term suspension, the Instructional Superintendent must forward his or her recommendation to the hearing office for immediate scheduling. The Instructional Superintendent must also notify your parent or legal guardian of the hearing. Once a hearing is scheduled by the hearing office, you will be placed on suspension or in an appropriate alternative education setting until the hearing and the appeals process are over.*

Disciplinary hearings must be held at a reasonable time and place for you and your parent or legal guardian. The hearing must be held within four (4) school days of your parent or legal guardian receiving the written notice of the disciplinary action. Your parent or legal guardian may ask for the hearing to be postponed for up to five (5) school days if they need more time to prepare for the hearing, or to enable the attendance of all necessary parties, including language interpreters.

The hearing office must provide a written notice to your parent or legal guardian that includes the date, time, and location of the hearing immediately after scheduling the hearing. This notice must also state the consequences of not attending the meeting. The hearing will be closed to the public unless your parent or legal guardian requests an open hearing.

 
II.  Your Rights at the Hearing:

At the hearing you have the right to a lawyer or another advocate. At the hearing, you have the right to present evidence, call witnesses, and cross examine the school’s witnesses or challenge evidence brought by the school. You can also require witnesses from the school to attend the hearing.


Additionally, you have the right to have the hearing recorded and to have a copy of that recording.  You may also record or transcribe the proceedings at your own expense.

In sum, you have the following rights:

  1. To have a representative or lawyer with you.
  2. To call witnesses in your defense (this includes compelling the testimony of school officials involved in the incident).
  3. To present testimony and written evidence
  4. To cross examine witnesses and challenge the school's written evidence.
  5. To have the hearing recorded and to have a copy of that recording.
  6. To record or transcribe the proceedings at your own expense.

III.  The Hearing

The hearings are informal and are usually held in a conference room where all parties sit around a conference table. The hearings will be recorded, and they will be closed to the public unless your parent or legal guardian requests the hearing be open to the public.


The hearing officer will ask the school to present its case first. It is the job of the DC Public Schools to prove that you committed the alleged infraction. Typically, the school’s case is presented by staff at the school, not by counsel. After the school presents its case, you will have the opportunity to cross examine the school’s witnesses and challenge their evidence. Following this, you can present your case, and the school will have an opportunity to cross examine your witnesses and challenge your evidence. After the formal case presentations, the hearing officer will usually give both parties an opportunity to ask any more questions or present other arguments.

IV.  The Role of the Hearing Officer:

It is the job of the hearing officer to make sure that all procedures have been followed or waived. The hearing officer must make sure that the hearing is conducted in a fair and orderly manner. The officer has the authority to exclude any party or person from the hearing, if the hearing officer decides they will greatly interfere or obstruct the order of the hearing process. The hearing officer can question any witness or party and will examine all documentary evidence. The hearing officer can exclude any testimony or evidence that they think is irrelevant or repetitive.


The hearing officer must also make an official electronic audio recording of the hearing, which will be the official record of the hearing.

V.  Hearing Recommendations:

Within one (1) school day of the conclusion of the disciplinary hearing, the hearing officer will give a written recommendation. This recommendation must include the following:

  1. A statement of the facts, determined through the testimony and evidence presented at the hearing;
  2. A conclusion of whether due process procedures were observed or if they were waived;
  3. A decision on whether you committed the alleged infraction;
  4. And a decision of whether the proposed long-term suspension is the appropriate disciplinary action to take. The long-term suspension can also be modified, and the hearing officer must provide justification for why the proposed disciplinary action was modified.

Checklist:

✔ Did the hearing officer give a written recommendation including all of the components (as listed above) within one (1) school day?

✔ Did you have an opportunity to cross examine the school’s witnesses and challenge their evidence?

✔ Was the hearing recorded?

✔ Was due process properly followed or waived?

Expulsions:

The hearing shall be held no more than four (4) school days after the written notice has been received. But you or parent or guardian can request a delay. This neutral hearing must be run by a person who is not involved in the incident and has no conflicts of interest.

This hearing officer must tape the hearing as an official record. You or your parent or guardian may obtain a copy upon request.

You or your parent has the right to be represented by a lawyer.

If you're not fluent in English, a translator must be present.

Checklist:

✔ Was the hearing held within four days of receiving your request?

✔ Was the hearing done by a neutral person and was it taped?

Expulsions must be based on evidence that you committed the offense. The school must prove your guilt.

You, your parent or guardian, or your legal representative has the right to testify, present evidence, call witnesses, require the presence of any involved school official, and to cross examine any witness or contest any evidence presented by the school.

Make sure to prepare your evidence, including witnesses, in advance.

The hearing officer decides what the facts of the case are and recommends whether the proposed expulsion should go forward, or if alternative discipline would be better.

The hearing officer has to mail you, your parent or guardian, and any representative a written decision within four business days after the conclusion of the hearing.

Checklist:

✔ Did the hearing officer mail a written decision?

 

*Generally, students who are facing long-term suspension are entitled to stay in school until DC Public School issues a final disciplinary decision, which means through the conference and hearing process. However, the school may suspend students immediately if there is an emergency situation at the school that warrants immediate suspension. 

Final Disciplinary Hearing

Final Disciplinary Hearing

The person designated by the Chancellor (Instructional Superintendent) must make a final decision within one (1) school day after receiving the hearing officer’s recommendation. A written copy of the decision must be provided by the person designated by the Chancellor (Instructional Superintendent) within twenty-four (24) hours and given to the legal guardians of the student and their representatives. Additionally, the person designated by the Chancellor (Instructional Superintendent) must also provide the principal or other school official in charge of school with a written copy of their decision within twenty-four hours. Another written copy will be kept on file at the student hearing office.

If the hearing officer decides that the student did not violate any DCPS rule or policy, all school records regarding the disciplinary action must be destroyed.

If the hearing officer determines that disciplinary action is not the correct response but does not state whether or not you have violated any DCPS rule or policy, the school may keep documents regarding the alleged infraction until the end of the school year. If the hearing officer does state that you have violated any DCPS rule or policy, but that disciplinary action is not the correct response, then the school may also keep records.

Checklist:

✔ Did the person designated by the Chancellor (Instructional Superintendent) make a decision one day after receiving the recommendation?

✔ Did you receive a written copy within 24 hours?

✔ If you were ruled to have no violated any policy, did they destroy all records?

Written Notification: 11-90 day suspension

In this section you will find:

I.  Overview of your right to a written notice

II.  Checklist: Did you get receive a letter from the school telling you about the long-term suspension?

III.  What can do if you did not receive written notice?

IV.  Definitions of key terms

Written Notice

After your parent or guardian has been given verbal notice of your suspension, the school must also give them written notice of the suspension (such as: email, certified mail, or hand­ delivered mail with a signature receipt).

Your school must give written notice within one (1) school day after the principal authorizes your suspension.

The written notice must include the following:

  1. Inform your parent or guardian that they can challenge (or appeal) the suspension to the principal
  2. Inform your parent or guardian that the request for an appeal must be made within five (5) days of receiving the notice
  3. A description of your behavior that the disciplinary action is based on
  4. The school rule that you violated
  5. The length of the suspension
  6. The principal’s recommendation for an Education Plan or Alternative Educational Setting

Checklist:

Did you receive both verbal and written notification within one (1) school day of the principal’s decision?

Did the written notice contain all the necessary components (as listed in the section above)?
Was the written notice in your parent or guardian's preferred language?

 

 

Appeal a Long Term Suspension and an Expulsion

Appeal: What To Do In An Appeal

Long-Term Suspensions

At the conference your parent or legal guardian can present arguments in support of an appeal. You have the right to have a representative or lawyer at this conference. This representative or lawyer is selected by your parent or legal guardian.

The appeal can be held by telephone, if requested by your parent or guardian.

The conference can be recorded by any of the parties.

Checklist:

✔Did you prepare arguments in support of appeal?

✔Do you have a lawyer or legal representative?

Within two (2) school days of the appeal conference the head of the Office of Youth Engagement must make a final decision. The head of the Office of Youth Engagement must give your parent or guardian, or you (if you are an adult student), and the person designated by the Chancellor (Instructional Superintendent), a written summary of the conference and the final decision.

Checklist:

✔Did you receive a final decision within two school days of the appeal?

✔Did you receive a summary of the conference in writing?

Expulsion

During the conference, your parent or legal guardian may present arguments in support of the appeal. You have the right to have a representative or legal counsel present, who is selected by the parent or legal guardian. The conference can be held by telephone if your parent or legal guardian requests. The conference may be recorded by any of the parties present.

Make sure to prepare your arguments in support of your appeal.

Within two (2) school days of the conference’s conclusion, the Chancellor must make her final decision. The Chancellor must provide you (if you are an adult), your parent or legal guardian, the person designated by the Chancellor (Instructional Superintendent), and the head of the Office of Youth Engagement with a written summary of the conference proceedings and her final decision.

Checklist:

✔ Did you receive the final decision within two days of the conference’s conclusion?

✔ Did you receive a summary of the conference proceedings?

 

Initial Notification : Expulsion

If you have been expelled or are in the process of being expelled please contact Student Rights Alliance at (202) 670-1466 or email us at studentrightsalliance@gmail.com

You may also: 

 

Multiple Suspensions

If you have been suspended more than two times in one semester, it must be approved by the Instructional Superintendent. 

If you plan to appeal your suspension, consider including this information in your appeal.

To learn more about how to appeal a suspension, please click:

here for short-term suspension at Ballou

here for short-term suspension at Anacostia

here for short-term suspension at HD Woodson

here for medium-term suspension at Ballou

here for medium-term suspension at Anacostia

here for medium-term suspension at HD Woodson

 

DCPS must prove that it is more likely than not that the student commited the misbevior for which the school is tying to suspend the student.  Therefore, you should prepare by doing the following:

-  Review any evidence or statements that DCPS has proving that you commited the offense.  Any evidence the school is using against you should have been disclosed to you through the conference or written notice.  In addition, you should always submit a records request asking for any documents related to the proposed suspension.  CLICK HERE TO VIEW A SAMPLE RECORDS REQUEST TO BE SENT TO THE PRINCIPAL OF YOUR SCHOOL.

-  If there are any witnesses to help support your story, then speak with him or her and see if he or she will speak at the appeal.  If not, see if he or she will agree to providing a statement concerning the incident.

CLICK HERE to review the disciplinary code.  School sometimes punish a student more severly than this code permits.  Look at what punishment the school is proposing.  Is it a more severe punishment than the code permits?