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A High School Graduate Cannot Appeal A Suspension That Is Not Referenced In His Permanent Record

In G.M. v. Springfield Local Schools Bd. of Edn., 2017-Ohio-7767, an Ohio appellate court dismissed the suspension appeal of a high school graduate as moot – meaning there is no longer an actual controversy – because “there is no evidence in the record that [the student] did not graduate [and] there is no evidence that the two-day out-of-school suspension became part of [the student’s] permanent high school record.” G.M. at ¶ 11.

This controversy sprang from the school’s discipline policy, which imposes a two-day out-of-school suspension when a student fails to appear for Saturday School detention. The student failed to appear for a Saturday School detention and the school imposed a two-day suspension. The student appealed the suspension to the appellate court, which raised the issue of mootness. Specifically, the Ohio appellate court found that there was no longer a controversy as “[t]here is no evidence that [the student] failed to move ahead to his next year of school, graduate from high school or any evidence presented that the suspension was made part of [the student’s] permanent record.” G.M. at ¶ 9.

The decision in this case is consistent with another case that we blogged about here. In that case, the Ohio appellate court found that an administrative appeal of a student expulsion is moot if the student’s permanent record does not contain any reference to the discipline and the student goes on to graduate.  These two court opinions suggest that a school can – arguably – prevent students from appealing suspension and expulsion decisions by not including the discipline in the student’s permanent record – at least where the student subsequently graduates from school.

To read this case, please click here.

Authors: Matthew John Markling and Patrick Vrobel

Note: This blog entry does not constitute – nor does it contain – legal advice. Legal jurisprudence is like the always changing Midwestern weather. As a result, this single blog entry cannot substitute for consultation with a McGown & Markling attorney. If legal advice is needed with respect to a specific factual situation, please feel free to contact a McGown & Markling attorney.

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