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Suspension, Long-term Suspension, Expulsion and Due Process Procedures (Exclusionary Discipline)

This section of the APS Student Code of Conduct outlines Suspension, Expulsion, and Due Process Procedures.

Definitions

According to the American Psychological Association, “exclusionary discipline encompasses any type of school disciplinary action that removes or excludes a student from his or her usual educational setting” (American Psychological Association Services).

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 per disciplinary student.

School Authority and Student Discipline Practices

Student code of conduct informs students of unacceptable behavior and the possible consequences. Schools can use levels of intervention and consequence categories to redirect student behavior, prior to moving to a long-term suspension or expulsion. The discipline matrix in the APS Handbook for Student Success provides specific examples of applicable student behavior that may lead to discipline practices such as the removal from class, suspension from school, or removal of school activities and extracurricular participation. When students are suspended, schools shall make parent contact and send documentation home with students clarifying the breach of the student code of conduct and consequences. APS recognizes the importance of successful reintegration of students following suspension.

Students with a disability or suspected disability, have more protections when facing discipline at school; these protections are intended to ensure students are not being disciplined due to their disability. A manifestation determination review is required for any student with a disability or a suspected disability prior to any removal from school that exceeds ten days.

School District Authority and Jurisdiction

  • During regular school hours and/or on any school property
  • During bus transportation of students to and from school
  • At times and places where appropriate school administrators and staff have jurisdiction including, but not limited to, school-sponsored events, field trips, athletic functions, and other school-related activities
  • On the way to or from school or a school related event

Student Behavior Contracts – School Level

  • Student commits to more positive behavior in the form of a written contract
  • Terms of the contract will be determined by the principal or designee
  • Parent/Guardian must be included in the school-level contract process
  • Refusal to sign a contract by a student or parent/guardian does not remove the student’s obligation to follow APS’ expectations.
  • Student may be assigned school site community service

Short-term Removal from Class/School Activities

  • Students may be removed from class or activity but remain at school pending a conference with appropriate school personnel.
  • Students may be placed in an alternative educational setting until satisfactory resolution is reached. Parents/guardians must be informed of the alternative educational setting by phone call (voicemail is acceptable if there is no answer).

Short-Term Suspension

Short-term suspension is an exclusionary discipline practice that can be used for in or out of school suspension for five days or less for a disciplinary infraction. Refer to the consequences chart in the APS Student Handbook for Success for definitions of behaviors and consequences.

Removal of Extra-Curricular Privileges

Students may be removed at the discretion of the principal, from any part or all extra-curricular privileges for the time period equal to suspension.

  • Participation in extracurricular activities is a privilege offered to and earned by students
  • Since participants are serving as representatives of their school and community, they are expected to exemplify high standards at all times
  • Participants are expected to adhere to higher standards of academics and conduct than established for the general school population in order to maintain their extra-curricular privileges
  • Only a principal or designee can remove extra-curricular privileges and such removal must be documented on the discipline referral form in the student information system. A copy must be printed and provided to the Parent/Guardian.
  • Participation in extracurricular activities is not a student right and suspension of such privileges does not require a due process hearing.

Long-Term Suspension

The APS Handbook for Student Success consequences charts provides specific examples of applicable student behavior that may lead to recommendations for long-term suspension or expulsion.

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 Hearing

The 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 with a disability or suspected disability, 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.

The parent/legal guardian (student if emancipated or over the age of 18) may, at their own expense, choose to be represented by an attorney during any due process hearing. The parent/legal guardian must notify the hearing office that an attorney will represent the student as soon as possible but no later than 72 hours prior to the hearing to enable the school to also seek representation if it so chooses.

Schools will make available copies of documentary evidence, with the exception of police reports that will be used at the hearing to families at least two (2) school days before the hearing. In cases where police reports are part of the documentary evidence, parents/guardians may contact the APS Police Department at (505) 243-7712 to obtain a copy.

  • A student receiving a long-term suspension may lose credit for the semester unless placed in an alternative school setting
  • Transfer students, other than students who have been placed at a school outside of their assigned school based on address in accordance with their IEP, will have their transfer revoked for the transfer school they are attending at the time of their long-term suspension. Upon completion of a LTS, a student may return to their assigned school, request a transfer for the next school year, or explore alternative options. The transfer revocation date for students receiving special education services assigned to an Alternative Educational Setting (AES), through a LTS hearing, will be determined at the end of the suspension period by the IEP team in consultation with school and district administration.

Time Limits for Scheduling a Hearing

Subject to applicable rules and upon agreement of the parent/legal guardian and hearing authority, the hearing authority shall have the option to extend the time limits after a showing of good cause.

Hearing Authority and Record

  • The hearing authority is the appointed hearing officer or designee of the district
  • A record of the proceeding, including an audio recording, shall be kept at the District Hearing Office for a period of one year, after which the recording and documentation will be destroyed, except in cases of expulsion hearings where records will be kept for two years.

Burden of Proof

  • The hearing is an administrative proceeding for the purpose of deciding issues of fact or law. Though formal rules of evidence will not direct the proceeding, evidence will be admitted and considered by the hearing officer.
  • The burden of proving that the student violated a provision of this handbook is on the school authorities.
  • The student or their counsel shall have the right to call witnesses on their behalf and to question witnesses against them.
  • If witnesses are requested, the Hearing Office must be notified 72 hours before the hearing to ensure witnesses are available and adequate time for the hearing has been scheduled.
  • The student will remain in suspended status pending the hearing even if the timeline is extended to support the request for witnesses.
  • The school authorities shall have the right to call witnesses and to question any witnesses who testify.
  • The school must notify the Hearing Office regarding witnesses to ensure additional time is scheduled. (See guidelines above)

Decision of the Hearing Officer

  • The hearing authority shall decide first if the alleged behavior violations are substantiated and second, will decide upon disciplinary action, if any, that should be taken
  • The hearing authority may request additional evidence from the parties
  • The student shall have the right to comment upon the evidence orally and/or in writing
  • The hearing authority shall provide its written decision to the parties, stating its findings, conclusions, and implementations within five (5) school days after hearing the evidence
  • The hearing authority’s decision shall take effect immediately upon notification to the parent/legal guardian and shall continue in force during any subsequent review

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 the 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.
  • Expulsion hearings cannot be waived

Student Expulsion

An expulsion is a disciplinary exclusion (suspension) from the school district that is greater than one (1) semester in length. It may be longer or even permanent. The APS Handbook for Student Success consequences charts provides specific examples of applicable student behavior that may lead to recommendations for expulsion.

Generally, the district wishes to limit exclusion from school to no longer than the end of the current semester. In some cases, there is a need to implement an expulsion as an extreme last resort for disciplining students who exhibit unacceptable behaviors such as drug possession, drug sales, acts of extreme violence, vandalism, weapons possession, weapons use, and other felonies. A school may also recommend expulsion for any student who has been suspended long-term two or more times.

Procedures for an Expulsion Hearing

Schools shall follow the same due process procedures outlined for long-term suspension. In addition, school personnel shall be prepared to justify to the hearing officer the request for the most severe disciplinary action possible. The following special requirements shall apply when the hearing officer elects to uphold the school’s recommendation for expulsion.

  • Unlike long-term suspension actions, the due process hearing for an "expulsion" cannot be waived. Even if the student and parents/legal guardians do not appear, the school shall present its case to the hearing officer.
  • Any student who has been expelled may enroll in Albuquerque Public Schools after the expulsion has been completed.

Appeal to the Superintendent

  • 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.
  • The student/parent/legal guardian may appeal the decision of the hearing officer by providing a written notice to the superintendent’s designee at the Student, Parent, Employee Service Center within ten (10) school days after the decision has been made
  • The superintendent designee shall, within fifteen (15) working days after receipt of the appeal, review the record of the hearing and the decision in the case
  • The designee shall have discretion over whether to permit the student/parent/legal guardian and school authorities to submit additional written materials and/or to present their respective views in person at a conference or hearing
  • The designee shall then provide the parties, within ten (10) working days after the review is concluded, their decision affirming, overruling, or modifying the decision of the hearing officer
  • The severity of any sanction may not be increased through the appeal review