Ferrara Fiorenza P.C.
 

What to Do and Not to Do about Student Discipline and Attendance

With summer school rapidly approaching, we wanted to remind our clients of several key rulings and other guidance from the Commissioner of Education on how to handle the discipline of students who are attending summer school and the basic rules regarding participation in summer school programs. 

 Student Discipline

The following are some key points to remember when disciplining students during summer school: 

· The procedures set forth in Education Law §3214 regarding student discipline are not applicable to students attending summer school.  (Appeal of Michael L., 38 EDR 84 (1998).)  However, disciplinary action cannot be imposed on a student attending school in complete disregard of due process.  (Goss v. Lopez, 419 U.S. 565 (1975).) 

· Minimal due process requires that an individual be afforded “an opportunity to appear informally before the person or body authorized to impose discipline and to discuss the factual situation underlying the threatened disciplinary action.”  (See, Matter of O’Connor v. Bd. of Education, 65 Misc. 2d 40 (1970).)  

In other words, the Commissioner of Education has held that attendance at summer school programs is voluntary, not compulsory.  Accordingly, contrary to the dictates of Education Law §3214, a principal or other administer could suspend a student for all of summer school.  With that said, however, you must provide summer school students and their parents with a minimal due process conference to discuss the underlying factual incident and the proposed penalty.

Attendance Guidelines

As set forth in the State Education Department’s Handbook for Summer School Administrators and Principals, remember that “when a school district operates a summer school or participates in a BOCES regional summer school, all resident students, including public, nonpublic and home-schooled students, are entitled to attend the district’s summer school program.  For the purpose of summer school instruction, a resident nonpublic school student is not considered to be an enrollee of the nonpublic school (4 EDR 230).  A school district or BOCES cannot charge resident students fees for any part of the district’s program offered to meet high school diploma requirements.  However, students must meet any academic requirements for a particular course.” 

If you have any questions regarding discipline of students or attendance during summer school, please do not hesitate to contact us at 315-437-7600.

 

Excerpted from the May 2011 edition of "School Law Matters".  To view the entire newsletter, please click here.