North Carolina - Disciplinary Due Process: Program Requirement

Area: 
Program Requirement
Policy Type: 
Statute
Summary: 

State law provides comprehensive assurances of due process for students facing disciplinary action.

North Carolina General Statutes 115C-390.6. Short-term suspension procedures.

(a) Except as authorized in this section, no short-term suspension shall be imposed upon a student without first providing the student an opportunity for an informal hearing with the principal. The notice to the student of the charges may be oral or written, and the hearing may be held immediately after the notice is given. The student has the right to be present, to be informed of the charges and the basis for the accusations, and to make statements in defense or mitigation of the charges.

(b) The principal may impose a short-term suspension without providing the student an opportunity for a hearing if the presence of the student creates a direct and immediate threat to the safety of other students or staff, or substantially disrupts or interferes with the education of other students or the maintenance of discipline at the school. In such cases, the notice of the charges and informal hearing described in subsection (a) of this section shall occur as soon as practicable.

(c) The principal shall provide notice to the student's parent of any short-term suspension, including the reason for the suspension and a description of the alleged student conduct upon which the suspension is based. The notice shall be given by the end of the workday during which the suspension is imposed when reasonably possible, but in no event more than two days after the suspension is imposed. The notice shall be given by certified mail, telephone, facsimile, e-mail, or any other method reasonably designed to achieve actual notice.

(d) If English is the second language of the parent, the notice shall be provided in the parent's primary language, when the appropriate foreign language resources are readily available, and in English, and both versions shall be in plain language and shall be easily understandable.

(e) A student is not entitled to appeal the principal's decision to impose a short-term suspension to the superintendent or local board of education. Further, such a decision is not subject to judicial review. Notwithstanding this subsection, the local board of education, in its discretion, may provide students an opportunity for a review or appeal of a short-term suspension to the superintendent or local board of education.


North Carolina General Statutes 115C-390.8. Long-term suspension procedures.

(a) When a student is recommended by the principal for long-term suspension, the principal shall give written notice to the student's parent. The notice shall be provided to the student's parent by the end of the workday during which the suspension was recommended when reasonably possible or as soon thereafter as practicable. The written notice shall provide at least the following information:

  • (1) A description of the incident and the student's conduct that led to the long-term suspension recommendation.
  • (2) A reference to the provisions of the Code of Student Conduct that the student is alleged to have violated.
  • (3) The specific process by which the parent may request a hearing to contest the decision, including the number of days within which the hearing must be requested.
  • (4) The process by which a hearing will be held, including, at a minimum, the procedures described in subsection (e) of this section.
  • (5) Notice that the parent is permitted to retain an attorney to represent the student in the hearing process.
  • (6) The extent to which the local board policy permits the parent to have an advocate, instead of an attorney, accompany the student to assist in the presentation of his or her appeal.
  • (7) Notice that the parent has the right to review and obtain copies of the student's educational records before the hearing.
  • (8) A reference to the local board policy on the expungement of discipline records as required by G.S. 115C-402.

(b) Written notice may be provided by certified mail, fax, e-mail, or any other written method reasonably designed to achieve actual notice of the recommendation for long-term suspension. When school personnel are aware that English is not the primary language of the parent or guardian, the notice shall be written in both English and in the primary language of the parent or guardian when the appropriate foreign language resources are readily available. All notices described in this section shall be written in plain English, and shall include the following information translated into the dominant non-English language used by residents within the local school administrative unit:

  • (1) The nature of the document, i.e., that it is a long-term suspension notice.
  • (2) The process by which the parent may request a hearing to contest the long-term suspension.
  • (3) The identity and phone number of a school employee that the parent may call to obtain assistance in understanding the English language information included in the document.

(c) No long-term suspension shall be imposed on a student until an opportunity for a formal hearing is provided to the student. If a hearing is timely requested, it shall be held and a decision issued before a long-term suspension is imposed, except as otherwise provided in this subsection. The student and parent shall be given reasonable notice of the time and place of the hearing.

  • (1) If no hearing is timely requested, the superintendent shall follow the procedures described in G.S. 115C-390.7(c).
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