Georgia School Discipline Laws & Regulations: Due Process

Discipline Compendium

Georgia School Discipline Laws & Regulations: Due Process

Category: Exclusionary Discipline: Suspension, Expulsion, and Alternative Placement
Subcategory: Due Process
State: Georgia

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LAWS

20-2-751.6. Disciplinary policy for students committing acts of physical violence against teacher, school bus driver, or other school official or employee.

(a) As used in this Code section, the term "physical violence" means:

(1) Intentionally making physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with the person of another; or

(2) Intentionally making physical contact which causes physical harm to another unless such physical contacts or physical harms were in defense of himself or herself, as provided in Code Section 16-3-21.

(b) Local board of education policies and student codes of conduct shall provide for the penalties to be assessed against a student found by a disciplinary hearing officer, panel, or tribunal pursuant to Code Section 20-2-752 to have committed any act of physical violence against a teacher, school bus driver, or other school official or employee. Such disciplinary hearing officer, panel, or tribunal shall hold any disciplinary hearing in accordance with the provisions of Code Section 20-2-754. Any student alleged to have committed an act of physical violence shall be suspended pending the hearing by the disciplinary hearing officer, panel, or tribunal. The decision of the disciplinary hearing officer, panel, or tribunal may be appealed to the local school board pursuant to Code Section 20-2-754. If appropriate under paragraph (1) of subsection (c) of this Code section, the decision of the disciplinary hearing officer, panel, or tribunal shall include a recommendation as to whether a student may return to public school and, if return is recommended, a recommended time for the student's return to public school. The local school board may impose penalties not recommended by the disciplinary hearing officer, panel, or tribunal.

(c)(1) A student found by a disciplinary hearing officer, panel, or tribunal to have committed an act of physical violence as defined in paragraph (2) of subsection (a) of this Code section against a teacher, school bus driver, school official, or school employee shall be expelled from the public school system. The expulsion shall be for the remainder of the student's eligibility to attend public school pursuant to Code Section 20-2-150. The local school board at its discretion may permit the student to attend an alternative education program for the period of the student's expulsion. If the student who commits an act of physical violence is in kindergarten through grade eight, then the local school board at its discretion and on the recommendation of the disciplinary hearing officer, panel, or tribunal may permit such a student to reenroll in the regular public school program for grades nine through 12. If the local school board does not operate an alternative education program for students in kindergarten through grade six, the local school board at its discretion may permit a student in kindergarten through grade six who has committed an act of physical violence as defined in paragraph (2) of subsection (a) of this Code section to reenroll in the public school system;

(2) Any student who is found by a disciplinary hearing officer, panel, or tribunal to have committed an act of physical violence against a teacher, school bus driver, school official, or school employee as defined in paragraph (2) of subsection (a) of this Code section shall be referred to juvenile court with a request for a petition alleging delinquent behavior; and

(3) Any student who is found by a disciplinary hearing officer, panel, or tribunal to have committed an act of physical violence as defined in paragraph (1) of subsection (a) of this Code section against a teacher, school bus driver, school official, or school employee may be disciplined by expulsion, long-term suspension, or short-term suspension.

(d) The provisions of this Code section shall apply with respect to any local school system which receives state funding pursuant to Code Sections 20-2-161 and 20-2-260.

(e) Nothing in this Code section shall be construed to infringe on any right provided to students with Individualized Education Programs pursuant to the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Section 504 of the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973, or the federal Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

20-2-752. Establishment of disciplinary hearing officers, panels, or tribunals for imposition of suspension or expulsion; rules and regulations; appeals.

Local boards of education may establish by policy, rule, or regulation disciplinary hearing officers, panels, or tribunals of school officials to impose suspension or expulsion. If such hearing officers, panels, or tribunals are established, such rules and regulations must include the following:

(1) Provisions governing the manner of selecting the hearing officers or members of the panels or tribunals and the number of members thereof;

(2) Provisions governing procedures to be followed by such hearing officers, panels, or tribunals in fact-finding, hearings, and reporting recommendations to the local board;

(3) Provisions granting a right to appeal to the local board when the punishment imposed by hearing officers, panels, or tribunals is long-term suspension or expulsion; and

(4) Provisions whereby the local school superintendent may suspend enforcement of the suspension or expulsion ordered by the hearing officers, panels, or tribunals pending the outcome of any appeal to the local board.

20-2-753. Disciplinary hearing officer, panel, or tribunal to hold disciplinary hearing following allegation of assault and battery or recommended suspension or expulsion exceeding 10 days.

(a) In addition to any proceedings which are authorized in Code Section 20-2-752, local boards of education shall appoint a disciplinary hearing officer, panel, or tribunal of school officials to hold a disciplinary hearing following any instance of an alleged violation of the student code of conduct where the principal recommends a suspension or expulsion of longer than ten school days or an alleged assault or battery by a student upon any teacher or other school official or employee, if such teacher or other school official or employee so requests.

(b) Nothing in this Code section shall be construed to infringe on any right provided to students with Individualized Education Programs pursuant to the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Section 504 of the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973, or the federal Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

20-2-754. Procedures to be followed by disciplinary officer, panel, or tribunal; review.

(a) The provisions of Code Section 20-2-1160 shall apply to disciplinary proceedings under this subpart.

(b) A disciplinary officer, panel, or tribunal of school officials appointed as required by Code Section 20-2-753 shall, in addition to any other requirements imposed by rules and regulations which may have been promulgated pursuant to Code Section 20-2-752, ensure that:

(1) All parties are afforded an opportunity for a hearing after reasonable notice served personally or by mail. This notice shall be given to all parties and to the parent or guardian of the student or students involved and shall include a statement of the time, place, and nature of the hearing; a short and plain statement of the matters asserted; and a statement as to the right of all parties to present evidence and to be represented by legal counsel;

(2) The hearing is held no later than ten school days after the beginning of the suspension unless the school system and parents or guardians mutually agree to an extension;

(3) All parties are afforded an opportunity to present and respond to evidence and to examine and cross-examine witnesses on all issues unresolved;

(4) Any teacher who is called as a witness by the school system shall be given notice no later than three days prior to the hearing; and

(5) A verbatim electronic or written record of the hearing shall be made and shall be available to all parties.

(c) If appointed to review an instance pursuant to Code Section 20-2-753, the disciplinary officer, panel, or tribunal shall conduct the hearing and, after receiving all evidence, render its decision, which decision shall be based solely on the evidence received at the hearing. The decision shall be in writing and shall be given to all parties within ten days of the close of the record. Any decision by such disciplinary officer, panel, or tribunal may be appealed to the local board of education by filing a written notice of appeal within 20 days from the date the decision is rendered. Any disciplinary action imposed by such officer, panel, or tribunal may be suspended by the school superintendent pending the outcome of the appeal.

(d) The local board of education shall review the record and shall render a decision in writing. The decision shall be based solely on the record and shall be given to all parties within ten days, excluding weekends and public and legal holidays provided for in Code Section 1-4-1, from the date the local board of education receives the notice of appeal. The board may take any action it determines appropriate, and any decision of the board shall be final. All parties shall have the right to be represented by legal counsel at any such appeal and during all subsequent proceedings.

(e) Either or both parents or guardians or legal counsel of the student involved may obtain a copy of any documents relating to a disciplinary proceeding conducted pursuant to this Code section.

20-2-755. Authorization of disciplinary officer, panel, or tribunal to determine disciplinary action.

The disciplinary officer, panel, or tribunal of school officials, when appointed as required in Code Section 20-2-753, shall determine what, if any, disciplinary action shall be taken. Such action may include, but is not limited to, expulsion, long-term suspension, or short-term suspension. Any action taken by such officer, panel, or tribunal shall be subject to modification by the local school board on appeal.

20-2-757. Applicability of public inspection and open meeting laws.

(a) All proceedings and hearings conducted under this subpart shall be confidential and shall not be subject to the open meetings requirement of Code Section 50-14-1 or other open meetings laws.

(b) All electronic or other written records of all hearings conducted under this subpart; all statements of charges; all notices of hearings; and all written decisions rendered by a hearing officer, tribunal, the local board of education, or the State Board of Education shall not be subject to public inspection or other disclosure under Article 4 of Chapter 18 of Title 50 or other public disclosure laws; provided, however, the board of education shall prepare a written summary of any proceeding conducted under this subpart, which summary shall include a description of the incident and the disposition thereof but shall not contain the names of any party to the incident. The summary shall be a public record.

20-2-758. Legal actions not prohibited, restricted, or limited by disciplinary hearing; rights to appeal from decision of school board.

Nothing in this subpart shall be construed to prohibit, restrict, or limit in any manner any cause of action otherwise provided by law and available to any teacher, school official, employee, or student. The provisions of subsections (b) through (f) of Code Section 20-2-1160 shall apply to all proceedings under this subpart.

REGULATIONS

160-4-8-.15. Student discipline.

(2) Requirements.

(a) Each local board of education shall adopt policies designed to improve the student learning environment by improving student behavior and discipline. These policies shall provide for the development of age appropriate student codes of conduct that contain the following, at a minimum:

18. Progressive discipline processes designed to create the expectation that the degree of discipline will be in proportion to the severity of the behavior, that the previous discipline history of the student and other relevant factors will be taken into account; and that all due process procedures required by federal and state law will be followed.

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