In the case of Beaver v. Licking Valley Local School Dist. Bd. of Edn., 2015-Ohio-4557, a court upheld a student’s suspension and expulsion. The student appealed the discipline alleging multiple procedural violations in the suspension/expulsion process including: (1) the notice of expulsion only referenced one public agency that works toward improving student attitudes and behavior, with no contact information, and did not list any private agencies; (2) the notice of expulsion was not addressed to the student; and (3) the superintendent held the expulsion hearing less than three school days after the notice of intent to expel was given.
The court rejected each of these claims holding that (1) R.C. 3313.66(D) does not require a school district to list more than one agency that works toward improving those aspects of the pupil’s attitudes and behavior that contributed to the incident that gave rise to the pupil’s expulsion and the omission of the agency’s contact information did not impact the student’s rights even though the contact information is required to be included by law; (2) pursuant to R.C. 3313.66(D), the notice of expulsion need only be provided to the parent, custodian, or guardian – it is the notice of intent to expel that must be sent to both the student and guardian; and (3) because the school year ended before the third school day, the superintendent was not required to wait until the next school year to hold the expulsion hearing.
This case should serve as a reminder to school officials that even minor procedural errors in the suspension and expulsion process can result in administrative appeals and challenges. In this case, it appears that the court was willing to overlook any alleged procedural deficiencies in order to uphold the discipline – perhaps because the student, who already had an extensive discipline history, called his teacher a “f*%ng b&$ch.” Future disciplinary appeals may not involve students as unsympathetic as this one.
To read this case, please click here.
Authors: Matthew John Markling and Patrick Vrobel