State law provides comprehensive assurances of due process for students facing disciplinary action.
Colorado Revised Statutes 22-32-109.1. Board of education - specific powers and duties - safe school plan - conduct and discipline code - safe school reporting requirements - school response framework - school resource officers - definitions - repeal
(a) Conduct and discipline code. (I) [Editor's note: This version of the introductory portion to subsection (2)(a)(I) is effective July 1, 2020.] A concisely written conduct and discipline code that shall be enforced uniformly, fairly, and consistently for all students. Copies of the code shall be provided to each student upon enrollment at the preschool, elementary, middle, and high school levels and shall be posted or kept on file at each public school in the school district. The school district shall take reasonable measures to ensure that each student of each public school in the school district is familiar with the code. The code shall include, but need not be limited to:
(A) General policies on student conduct, safety, and welfare;
(B) General policies and procedures for dealing with students who cause a disruption on school grounds, in a school vehicle, or at a school activity or sanctioned event, including a specific policy allowing a teacher to remove a disruptive student from his or her classroom. The policy shall state that, upon the third such removal from a teacher's class, the teacher may remove the disruptive student from the teacher's class for the remainder of the term of the class; except that a disruptive student shall not be removed from a teacher's class for the remainder of the term of the class unless the principal of the student's school or his or her designee has developed and implemented a behavior plan for the student. A behavior plan may be developed after the first such removal from class and shall be developed after the second removal from class. The general policies and procedures shall include a due process procedure, which at a minimum shall require that, as soon as possible after a removal, the teacher or the school principal shall contact the parent or legal guardian of the student to request his or her attendance at a student-teacher conference regarding the removal. Any policy or procedure adopted shall comply with applicable federal and state laws, including but not limited to laws regarding students with disabilities.
Colorado Revised Statutes 22-33-105. Suspension, expulsion, and denial of admission
(1) No child who has attained the age of six years and is under the age of twenty-one shall be suspended or expelled from or be denied admission to the public schools, except as provided by this article. (2) In addition to the powers provided in section 22-32-110, the board of education of each district may: (a) Delegate to any school principal within the school district or to a person designated in writing by the principal the power to suspend a pupil in his school for not more than five school days on the grounds stated in section 22-33-106 (1)(a), (1)(b), (1)(c), or (1)(e) or not more than ten school days on the grounds stated in section 22-33-106 (1)(d); (b) Suspend, on the grounds stated in section 22-33-106, a pupil from school for not more than another ten school days, or may delegate such power to its executive officer; except that the latter may extend a suspension to an additional ten school days if necessary in order to present the matter to the next meeting of the board of education, but the total period of suspension pursuant to this paragraph (b) and paragraph (a) of this subsection (2) shall not exceed twenty-five school days; and (c) Deny admission to, or expel for any period not extending beyond one year, any child whom the board of education, in accordance with the limitations imposed by this article, shall determine does not qualify for admission to, or continued attendance at, the public schools of the district. A board of education may delegate such powers to its executive officer or to a designee who shall serve as a hearing officer. If the hearing is conducted by a designee acting as a hearing officer, the hearing officer shall forward findings of fact and recommendations to the executive officer at the conclusion of the hearing. The executive officer shall render a written opinion within five days after a hearing conducted by the executive officer or by a hearing officer. The executive officer shall report on each case acted upon at the next meeting of the board of education, briefly describing the circumstances and the reasons for the executive officer's action. A child who is denied admission or expelled as an outcome of the hearing shall have ten days after the denial of admission or expulsion to appeal the decision of the executive officer to the board of education, after which time the decision to grant or deny the appeal shall be at the discretion of the board of education. The appeal shall consist of a review of the facts that were presented and that were determined at the hearing conducted by the executive officer or by a designee acting as a hearing officer, arguments relating to the decision, and questions of clarification from the board of education. No board of education shall deny admission to, or expel, any child without a hearing, if one is requested by the parent, guardian, or legal custodian of the child, at which evidence may be presented in the child's behalf. If the child is denied admission or expelled, the child shall be entitled to a review of the decision of the board of education in accordance with section 22-33-108. (2.5) Each board of education shall annually report to the state board the number of students expelled from schools within the district pursuant to this section and pursuant to section 25-4-907, C.R.S. Any pupil who is expelled pursuant to this section shall not be included in calculating the dropout rate for the school from which such student is expelled or in calculating the dropout rate for the school district in which such pupil was enrolled prior to being expelled. (3) (a) If a pupil is suspended pursuant to subsection (2) of this section, the suspending authority shall immediately notify the parent, guardian, or legal custodian of the pupil that the pupil has been suspended and of the grounds for the suspension, the period of the suspension, and the time and place for the parent, guardian, or legal custodian to meet with the suspending authority to review the suspension. (b) Except as provided in paragraph (c) of this subsection (3), a suspended pupil shall: (I) Be required to leave the school building and the school grounds immediately, following a determination by the parent, guardian, or legal custodian and the school of the best way to transfer custody of the pupil to the parent, guardian, or legal custodian; and (II) Not be readmitted to a public school until a meeting between the parent, guardian, or legal custodian and the suspending authority has taken place or until, in the discretion of the suspending authority, the parent, guardian, or legal custodian of the suspended pupil has substantially agreed to review the suspension with such suspending authority; except that, if the suspending authority cannot contact the parent, guardian, or legal custodian of such pupil or if such parent, guardian, or legal custodian repeatedly fails to appear for scheduled meetings, the suspending authority may readmit the pupil. The meeting shall address whether there is a need to develop a remedial discipline plan for the pupil in an effort to prevent further disciplinary action. (c) A pupil suspended for a period of ten days or less shall receive an informal hearing by the school principal or the principal's designee prior to the pupil's removal from school, unless an emergency requires immediate removal from school, in which case an informal hearing shall follow as soon after the pupil's removal as practicable. Any pupil suspended for more than ten days shall be given the opportunity to request a review of the suspension before an appropriate official of the school district. (d) The suspending authority shall: (I) Make every reasonable effort to meet with the parent, guardian, or legal custodian of the pupil during the period of suspension; (II) Not extend a period of suspension because of the failure of the suspending authority to meet with the parent, guardian, or legal custodian during the period of suspension; (III) Provide an opportunity for a pupil to make up school work during the period of suspension for full or partial academic credit to the extent possible. The intent of this provision is to provide an opportunity for the pupil to reintegrate into the educational program of the district and to help prevent the pupil from dropping out of school because of an inability to reintegrate into the educational program following the period of suspension. The school district should take this intent into consideration when determining the amount of credit a student will receive for this makeup work. (4) The board of education of each district shall establish, as an alternative to suspension, a policy that allows the pupil to remain in school by encouraging the parent, guardian, or legal custodian, with the consent of the pupil's teacher or teachers, to attend class with the pupil for a period of time specified by the suspending authority. If the parent, guardian, or legal custodian does not agree to attend class with the pupil or fails to attend class with the pupil, the pupil shall be suspended in accordance with the conduct and discipline code of the district. (5) (a) Whenever a petition filed in juvenile court alleges that a child at least twelve years of age but under eighteen years of age has committed an offense that would constitute unlawful sexual behavior, as defined in section 16-22-102 (9), C.R.S., or a crime of violence, as defined in section 18-1.3-406, C.R.S., if committed by an adult or whenever charges filed in district court allege that a child has committed such an offense, basic identification information concerning such child and the details of the alleged delinquent act or offense shall be provided immediately to the school district in which the child is enrolled in accordance with the provisions of section 19-1-304 (5), C.R.S. Upon receipt of such information, the board of education of the school district or its designee shall determine whether the student has exhibited behavior that is detrimental to the safety, welfare, and morals of the other students or of school personnel in the school and whether educating the student in the school may disrupt the learning environment in the school, provide a negative example for other students, or create a dangerous and unsafe environment for students, teachers, and other school personnel. The determination may be made in executive session to the extent allowed by section 24-6-402 (4)(h), C.R.S. If the board of education or its designee, in accordance with the provisions of this subsection (5), makes a determination that the student should not be educated in the school, it may proceed with suspension or expulsion in accordance with subsection (2) of this section and section 22-33-106. Alternatively, the board of education or its designee may determine that it will wait until the conclusion of the juvenile proceedings to consider the expulsion matter, in which case it shall be the responsibility of the district to provide the student with an appropriate alternate education program, including but not limited to an online program or online school authorized pursuant to article 30.7 of this title, or a home-based education program during the period pending the resolution of the juvenile proceedings. Information made available to the school district and not otherwise available to the public pursuant to the provisions of section 19-1-304, C.R.S., shall remain confidential. (b) No student who is being educated in an alternate education program or a home-based education program pursuant to paragraph (a) of this subsection (5) shall be allowed to return to the education program in the public school until there has been a disposition of the charge. If the student pleads guilty, is found guilty, or is adjudicated a delinquent juvenile, the school district may proceed in accordance with section 22-33-106 to expel the student. The time that a student spends in an alternate education program pursuant to paragraph (a) of this subsection (5) shall not be considered a period of expulsion. (c) No court which has jurisdiction over the charges against a student who is subject to the provisions of this subsection (5) shall issue an order requiring the student to be educated in the education program in the school in contradiction of the provisions of this subsection (5). (6) When a pupil is expelled by a school district, the pupil's parent, guardian, or legal custodian is responsible for seeing that the pupil complies with the provisions of this article during the period of expulsion. (7) Notwithstanding any other provision of this part 1 to the contrary: (a) An institute charter school authorized pursuant to part 5 of article 30.5 of this title may carry out the functions of a suspending authority pursuant to this section; and (b) The state charter school institute created in part 5 of article 30.5 of this title may carry out the functions of a school district and its board of education with respect to the suspension, expulsion, or denial of admission of a student to an institute charter school.