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Student Discipline and Suspension

The Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education shall not allow for the imposition of discipline, discrimination or disparate treatment against a student based on the student's race, religion or culture or because of the student's use of protective hairstyles or cultural or religious headdresses. Racialized aggression, defined as any aggressive act that can be characterized, categorized or that appears as such to be racial in nature, is prohibited. A link to a statewide hotline for reporting such incidents is provided on the district website.

Definitions

For purposes of this procedural directive, "in-school suspension" means suspending a student from physical presence in one or more regular classes while requiring the student to spend the time in a designated area at the same school or elsewhere. In-school suspension may include restorative practices and/or instruction. In-school suspensions shall not be counted toward absences from school.

For purposes of this procedural directive, “out-of-school suspension” means a temporary suspension of a student from one or more regular classes, for no more than five (5) days and requiring the student to spend time outside of school. Out-of-school suspension includes all school-related activities. Out-of-school suspensions count toward a student’s chronic absenteeism totals.

For purposes of this procedural directive, “long-term suspension” means the removal of a student from school and all school-related activities for ten (10) days or more, the remainder of the semester or longer as determined by the hearing officer in cases that are near the end of a given semester.

For purposes of this procedural directive, “short-term suspension” can be in school or out of school and means the removal of a student from school and all school-related activities for no more than five (5) days.

For purposes of this procedural directive, "cultural or religious headdresses" includes hijabs, head wraps or other headdresses used as part of an individual's personal cultural or religious beliefs.

For purposes of this procedural directive, "protective hairstyles" includes such hairstyles as braids, locs, twists, tight coils or curls, cornrows, bantu knots, afros, weaves, wigs or head wraps.

For purposes of this procedural directive, "race" includes traits historically associated with race, including hair texture, length of hair, protective hairstyles or cultural or religious headdresses.

Absenteeism, hair styles and cultural or religious hair, hair coverings or headdresses are not considered student discipline issues. 

For purposes of this procedural directive, “progressive discipline” means disciplinary action other than suspension or expulsion from school that is designed to correct and address the basic causes of a student's specific misbehavior while retaining the student in class or in school, or restorative school practices to repair the harm done to relationships and other students from the student's misbehavior, and may include:

  • meeting with the student and the student's parents
  • reflective activities, such as requiring the student to write an essay about the student's misbehavior
  • counseling
  • anger management
  • health counseling or intervention
  • mental health counseling
  • participation in skill building and resolution activities, such as social-emotional cognitive skills building, resolution circles and restorative conferencing
  • community service
  • in-school detention or suspension, which may take place during lunchtime, after school or during weekends

Long-Term Suspension

All students have due process procedures available to them under the APS Handbook for Student Success.  Any student for whom the school is requesting long-term suspension shall have the right to a suspension hearing held before an Albuquerque Public Schools hearing officer, or the superintendent’s designee. Students or their parents/legal guardians may waive the right to a hearing by signing a waiver. School officials may not encourage the signing of waivers by saying or implying that hearing officers are likely to impose more severe discipline than school-based administrators.

Please refer to Albuquerque Public Schools procedural directives regarding special education students for additional information on discipline and suspension of special education students.

The burden of proving that the student violated a provision of the APS Handbook for Student Success to the degree a student must be suspended shall be the responsibility of school personnel.

Procedure for Long-Term Suspension through the Hearing Process

Parent/legal guardian and student shall be advised of all the charges both orally and in writing a minimum of five (5) days prior to the scheduled hearing. The written notice shall be on the Notice of Discipline Hearing form.

Hearings shall be scheduled through the Hearing Office. Hearings shall be scheduled within ten (10) working days of the Notice of Discipline Hearing form being sent to the parents/legal guardians.

If the hearing requires the services of an interpreter, including sign language, the school shall notify the Hearing Office at the time of scheduling the hearing.

The school shall present copies of the following information to the hearing officer during the hearing.

  • A copy of the Notice of Discipline Hearing form
  • Report of current grades, current attendance, and class progress reports
  • Written witness reports, incident reports, and school police reports
  • Current Manifestation Determination Review/Individualized Educational Program/Student Assistance Team report for students receiving special education services, students with a 504 plan or students in the Student Assistance Team process

Copies of all reports shall become part of the official hearing record.  All reports, with the exception of police reports, shall be made available to the parent/legal guardian of the student at least forty-eight (48) hours prior to the hearing.  Failure to make these documents available may result in rescheduling the hearing with the student returning to school until the hearing can be rescheduled.

Appeals of the determination of the hearing officer shall be submitted to the superintendent or his/her designee in writing within ten (10) days of the hearing. 

The determination of the superintendent or his/her designee shall be the final administrative action to which a student is entitled. 

Procedures for Long-Term Suspension When Parents/Legal Guardians Waive the Right to Hearing

The principal or his/her designee shall advise parents/legal guardians and student of the charges orally and in writing.

School personnel shall advise parents/legal guardians of their right to a hearing. They shall explain the hearing procedure, and they shall not state or imply that requesting a hearing will increase the likelihood of a more severe penalty.

School personnel must explain to the parents/legal guardians that the student shall not be permitted to attend any traditional Albuquerque Public School while he/she is suspended.

School personnel shall advise parents/legal guardians of students with an identified disability of the availability of alternative continuation services during the term of the suspension as outlined in the student’s IEP.

Parents/legal guardians shall be required to sign the request to waive the due process hearing for the request to be active.

School personnel shall advise parents/legal guardians and the student regarding possible education alternatives during the term of the suspension.

School personnel shall attach documentation of parent/legal guardian contacts and intervention to a copy of the Notice of Discipline Hearing form. 

Schools shall report to the Student, Parent and Employee Service Center all long-term suspension waivers.

Failure to follow this procedural directive may result in reinstatement of the student.

Administrative Position:

  • Chief Operations Officer
  • Associate Superintendents for Leadership and Learning

Department Director:

  • Executive Director of Student, Parent and Employee Service Center
  • Albuquerque Public Schools Hearing Officer
  • School Principals

References

Legal Cross Ref.:

  • §22-5-4.3 NMSA 1978                            

  • §22-12A-1 to §22-12A-14 NMSA 1978

  • §22-35-12 NMSA 1978

  • §22-35-2 NMSA 1978

  •  6.11.2 NMAC

Board Policy Cross Ref.:

Procedural Directive Cross Ref:

Forms:

  • Notice of Discipline Hearing

NSBA/NEPN Classification: JKD

Revised: May 1995
Revised: April 1996
Revised: June 1997
Reviewed: September 24, 2010
Reviewed: October 11, 2010
Revised: October 15, 2010
Revised: April 1, 2011
Reviewed: September 16, 2020
Revised: October 2, 2020
Reviewed: June 16, 2021
Revised: June 30, 2021