Rights and Responsibilities of NYS Students
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Students rights are an extension of the Bill of Rights
Students attending public school in NYS have a variety of rights, some directly and some indirectly, through their parents.
It is the right of a student to be given a suspension hearing when being accused of violating the school's code of conduct.
When a Student is Suspended
Guidelines for Students and Parents
The rights of students subject to suspension are the same whether the student has a disability or not if the suspension is for 10 days or less. When a student is suspended for 5 days or less, and the student denies the misconduct, the parents and the student have the right to an informal conference, which includes the right to question complaining witnesses. If the suspension is greater than 5 days, there is a right to a fair hearing before the school superintendent, or an appointed hearing officer. During any period of suspension, alternative instruction must be provided for students of compulsory school age.
When suspensions of greater than 10 days are contemplated, special rules apply to children with disabilities. If your child has been classified with a disability and has an Individual Education Program (IEP) in place, the procedures apply as set forth in # 5 below.
If your child has not been classified with a disability, but you suspect your child has one, submit a written request to the school for a complete evaluation of your child.
At the same time, the Committee on Special Education (CSE) will obtain consent and complete an expedited individual evaluation, no later than 15 days after the receipt of the request for evaluation.
A CSE meeting will be convened to determine eligibility no later than 5 school days after the completion of the expedited evaluation.
The student will remain in the placement determined by school officials, which could include suspension, during the time the expedited evaluation is conducted and the CSE is held to determine eligibility.
If eligible, the CSE will develop and impliment the IEP, and the student will be treated as a student with disabilities with respect to his or her suspension, as set forth in # 5 below. (See Section 201.6 of the regulations of the commissioner.)
If you have requested an evaluation (in writing) prior to your child's suspension, then he or she is "presumed to have a disability for discipline purposes," and you follow the procedures set forth in # 5 below. A student is also presumed to have a disability for discipline purposes if one or more of the following criteria have been met:
The parent of the student has expressed concern in writing (or orally if the parent cannot write ) to school personnel about the need for special education.
A teacher of the student, or other school personnel of the school district, has expressed concerns about the student to the Director of Special Education or to other school district personnel in accordance with the districts established child find or special education referral system. ( See Section 201.4 of the regulations of the commissioner.)
If your child has a disability, or is presumed to have a disability for discipline purposes, and is suspended for more than 10 consecutive days, this is considered a disciplinary change of placement, and the following procedures apply:
The CSE must convene to address the students behavior.
The CSE must conduct a Manifestation Determination (see # 6 below ). See Section 201.4 of the Regulations of the Commissioner.)
Manifestation Determination ( whether the behavior subject to disciplinary action is a manifestation of the students disability) - A meeting must take place immediately if possible, but no later than 10 school days after the decision is made to impose a disciplinary change of placement. The students parents are entitled to attend the meeting and to request the participation of relevant members of the CSE. A manifestation team must consider all relevant information pertaining to the behavior, including:
evaluation and diagnostic results and information supplied by the parents of the student;
observations of the student
the students IEP placement
Based on such considerations, the manifestation team must determine that the students behavior was a manifestation of his or her disability if either:
the conduct in question was caused by, or had a direct and substantial relationship to the students disability; or
the conduct in question was the direct result of the school district's failure to implement the IEP.
A student with a disability whose behavior is determined to be a manifestation of his or her disability cannot be suspended or removed from his or her current educational placement except when:
the parents and the school district otherwise agree;
the student was suspended for weapons, illegal drugs, or controlled substance offenses;
the student has inflicted serious bodily injury upon another person; or
an impartial hearing officer determines that maintaining the student's current placement is substantially likely to result in injury to the student or others.
In such cases, a student with a disability may be suspended for up to 45 school days. ( See Sections 201.7(e) and 201.8 of the Regulations of the Commissioner.)
During a suspension which constitutes a disciplinary change of placement, a student with disabilities is entitled to services to enable the student to continue to participate in the general education curriculum, to progress toward meeting the student's IEP goals and to receive behavioral intervention services to prevent the behavior violation from recurring. ( See Sections 201.10 (d) of the Regulations of the Commissioner.)
Gun Free School Act
Education Law section 3214 (d) requires public schools to suspend a student from school for one calendar year when bringing a weapon to school.
Based on First Amendment to the United States Constitution
Supreme Court restricts a student's freedom of expression only when it causes "material and substantial interference with school work or discipline."
States can adopt guidelines restricting freedom of expression if it is considered to be contrary to "sound educational policy".
Equality in Education
Sex discrimination is outlawed in public schools
Sexual Harassment- school must have knowledge for private Title IX damage
Separate groups for contact sports or where selection is based on competitive skill
If only team for one sex, members of other sex must be given opportunity to be selected on basis of ability
School may require medical approval from doctor
Students who are married or have a child may leave school under cumpulsory school age
Enrollment in special program for pregnant students is voluntary
Limited English Proficient
Students who do not speak English must be taught English and be provided with a good education while they are learning to speak English
Education of Students Affected by Homelessness
Police and "Policing in Schools"
No student may be compelled to submit to police questioning
School authorities may not make students available when investigation involves out-of-school activity
School authorities may inspect lockers and desks
School officials must have probable cause before searching a student
School authorities are authorized to perform urinalysis on students to test for suspected drug use