Tennessee - 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.

2017 Tennessee Code Annotated 49-6-3401. Suspension of students -- Expulsion of students -- Exception for self-defense.

(4)

  • (A) If, at the time of the suspension, the principal, principal-teacher or assistant principal determines that an offense has been committed that would justify a suspension for more than ten (10) days, the person may suspend a student unconditionally for a specified period of time or upon such terms and conditions as are deemed reasonable.
  • (B) The principal, principal-teacher or assistant principal shall immediately give written or actual notice to the parent or guardian and the student of the right to appeal the decision to suspend for more than ten (10) days. All appeals must be filed, orally or in writing, within five (5) days after receipt of the notice and may be filed by the parent or guardian, the student or any person holding a teaching license who is employed by the school system if requested by the student.
  • (C) The appeal from this decision shall be to the board of education or to a disciplinary hearing authority appointed by the board. The disciplinary hearing authority, if appointed, shall consist of at least one (1) licensed employee of the LEA, but no more than the number of members of the local board.
  • (D) The hearing shall be held no later than ten (10) days after the beginning of the suspension. The local board of education or the disciplinary hearing authority shall give written notice of the time and place of the hearing to the parent or guardian, the student and the school official designated in subdivision (c)(4)(A) who ordered the suspension. Notice shall also be given to the LEA employee referred to in subdivision (c)(4)(B) who requests a hearing on behalf of a suspended student.

(5) After the hearing, the board of education or the disciplinary hearing authority may affirm the decision of the principal, order removal of the suspension unconditionally or upon such terms and conditions as it deems reasonable, assign the student to an alternative program or night school or suspend the student for a specified period of time.

(6) If the decision is determined by a disciplinary hearing authority, a written record of the proceedings, including a summary of the facts and the reasons supporting the decision, shall be made by the disciplinary hearing authority. The student, principal, principal-teacher or assistant principal may, within five (5) days of the decision, request review by the board of education; provided, that local school board policy may require an appeal to the director of schools prior to a request for review to the board. Absent a timely appeal, the decision shall be final. The board of education, based upon a review of the record, may grant or deny a request for a board hearing and may affirm or overturn the decision of the hearing authority with or without a hearing before the board; provided, that the board may not impose a more severe penalty than that imposed by the hearing authority without first providing an opportunity for a hearing before the board. If the board conducts a hearing as a result of a request for review by a student, principal, principal-teacher or assistant principal, then, notwithstanding any provision of the open meetings laws compiled in title 8, chapter 44, or other law to the contrary, the hearing shall be closed to the public, unless the student or student's parent or guardian requests in writing within five (5) days after receipt of written notice of the hearing that the hearing be conducted as an open meeting. If the board conducts a hearing as a result of a request for review by a student, principal, principal-teacher, or assistant principal that is closed to the public, then the board shall not conduct any business, discuss any subject or take a vote on any matter other than the appeal to be heard. Nothing in this subdivision (c)(6) shall act to exclude the department of children's services from the disciplinary hearings when the department is exercising its obligations under § 37-1-140. The action of the board of education shall be final.

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