State law provides comprehensive assurances of due process for students facing disciplinary action.
17 V.I.C. § 91 Expulsion of pupils; appeal
(a) The Commissioner of Education may authorize or order the expulsion from public school of any pupil guilty of gross misconduct or persistent disobedience, or having bad habits, or being in a physical condition detrimental to the best interests of the school, in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Virgin Islands Board of Education. Any parent aggrieved by such expulsion may appeal to the Board for review of such order within 30 days after the date thereof.
(b) The Commissioner of Education shall order the expulsion from public school for a period of not less than one year of any pupil who brings or possesses a firearm, as defined in 18 U.S.C. 921(a), on school property or at a school function.
- (1) “School property” means in or within any building, structure, athletic playing field, playground, parking lot or land contained within the real property boundary line of a public elementary or secondary school; or in or on a school bus or at a school function.
- (2) “School function” means any event or activity that is under the supervision and control of a public school.
(c) Notwithstanding subsection (b), the Commissioner of Education or the Virgin Islands Board of Education on appeal, may modify, in writing, the length of the expulsion on a case-by-case basis based on the specific circumstances surrounding each incident.
(d) Any parent or guardian aggrieved by such an expulsion may appeal to the Board of Education for review of such order within thirty (30) days after the date thereof.
CVIR 17-003-002 Virgin Islands Student Discipline Policy
DUE PROCESS PROCEDURE FOR SUSPENSION IN EXESS OF TEN(10) DAYS OR EXPULSION A student accused of a violation of the Virgin Islands Student Discipline Policy which, in the opinion of the administrator or his/her designated representative, may require expulsion from school or transportation shall be afforded the due process procedure described below. In emergency situations, these procedures may be modified if reasonable and documented efforts are made to provide substantially similar opportunities for due process.
- Step 1: The student must be told by the administrator or designee of the reason(s) for consideration of suspension or expulsion.
- Step 2: The student must be given the opportunity to present his/her side of the matter either verbally or in writing and must have the opportunity to present witnesses to the incident.
- Step 3: The administrator or designee shall make a determination in writing as to whether or not the student is guilty of the misconduct and, if so, what the terms of punishment will be. The student shall be informed of the determination. If the administrator or designee determines that there are sufficient grounds for expulsion, then the administrator or designee shall inform the student that he/she is being suspended from school for ten (10) days and a recommendation for expulsion is being considered.
- Step 4: The administrator or designee shall report in writing to the student's parent or guardian and the superintendent that the student has been suspended for ten (10) days and a recommendation for expulsion from school is being considered. The report shall be mailed by certified mail or delivery initiated within twenty four (24) hours of the start of the ten(10) day suspension or on the next regular work day. This report shall include the various incidents relating to the suspension and recommended expulsion and shall document specific facts relating to times and dates of offenses and other undesirable behavior. Additionally, the report shall include all efforts to assist the student (letters to parents, referrals to counselors, pupil personnel services, Departments of Health and Human Services etc.) Reasonable efforts shall be made to contact the parent or guardian prior to the start of the suspension. If the parent or guardian cannot be reached prior to the start of the suspension, the administrator or designee may determine that the suspension will start without prior contact with the parent or guardian.
- Step 5: The principal shall convene the Student Review Team comprising of the administrator or designee, counselor and a teacher as soon as possible but not later than the fifth day of the suspension period to determine:
- if there is documentation or evidence that the student has a disability requiring exceptional education services;
- if any modification or adaptations need to be made within the school as an alternative to expulsion;
- if a recommendation for expulsion is appropriate.
- Step 6: The recommendation for expulsion will be referred to the superintendent for disposition. The superintendent or designee shall review the information provided by the Student Review Team, and no later than the seventh school day of the suspension, shall conduct a hearing with the parent, and student to determine if expulsion should be imposed. At the time the parents and student are given notice of the expulsion hearing, they should be advised that they have the right to have a lawyer present, to confront and cross-examine witnesses, or to call witnesses to verify the student's version of the incident which led to the recommended expulsion. During the hearing, the superintendent or designee has the right to limit witnesses at any time when there is a serious threat of disruption. The hearing shall be electronically recorded.
- Step 7: If expulsion is determined to be the appropriate course of action, the superintendent shall submit the expulsion recommendation to the Commissioner of Education in writing within twenty-four hours or the next regular work day. The Superintendent shall include a detailed report by the administrator or designee on the incident, alternative measures, if applicable, taken prior to the recommendation of expulsion and a summary of the Student Review Team's findings.
- Step 8: The Commissioner shall notify the parent or guardian in writing within forty-eight (48) hours that the student be expelled for a specific period of time. The written notification shall indicate the grounds for expulsion and the parent's right for appeal to the Board of Education within thirty (30) days of receipt of the expulsion notice.
- Step 9: If the Board of education determines that any student should return to school after a specified period, a written behavior plan for the expelled student shall be developed by the school prior to the return of the expelled student to the school program. The plan shall be developed in cooperation with all parties including the student and parent or guardian to assure that the conduct leading to the expulsion will not recur in the future. If the student, parent or guardian refuse to cooperate, then the principal shall fashion a plan and inform the student and parent or guardian of the same. Substantial violations of this plan shall be considered a violation of the Virgin Islands Student Discipline Policy and may subject the student to suspension or expulsion.
Student Discipline Policy
This document addresses procedural due process rights in student discipline