A student may be expelled by a three member panel, known as the Expulsion Panel, that is designated by the Baxter High School Board of Directors. Members of the panel shall not be staff members of Baxter High School and shall not have previous familiarity with the student or situation.
Process for Expulsion
Upon a recommendation of Expulsion by the Principal or Principal’s designee, the pupil and the pupil’s guardian or representative will be invited to a conference to determine if the suspension for the pupil should be extended pending an expulsion hearing. This determination will be made by the Principal or designee.
A hearing to determine whether the student should be expelled is required for recommendations for expulsion. The hearing is held within 30 school days after the principal makes his/her expulsion recommendation. The hearing shall be presided over by the Expulsion Panel of three members. The Expulsion Panel includes Alliance staff. Members are selected by the Board President with the following criteria: 1) no knowledge of the student or situation, and 2) the panel members are not Alliance X College-Ready Academy X school employees.
The principal or designee of Alliance X College-Ready Academy X provides written notice of the hearing to the student and the student’s parent at least 10 calendar days before the date of the hearing. This notice shall include:
a) The date and place of the expulsion hearing.
b) A statement of the specific facts, charges, and offenses upon which the proposed expulsion is based.
c) A copy of the Charter School’s disciplinary rules which relate to the alleged violation;
d) Notification of the student's or parent/guardian's obligation to provide information about the student's status at the school to any other school district or school to which the student seeks enrollment;
e) The opportunity for the student or the student's parent/guardian to appear in person and/or to employ and be represented by counsel or a non-attorney advisor;
f) The right to inspect and obtain copies of all documents to be used at the hearing;
g) The opportunity to confront and question all witnesses who testify at the hearing;
h) The opportunity to question all evidence presented and to present oral and documentary evidence on the student's behalf including witnesses.
Presentation of Evidence
While technical rules of evidence do not apply to expulsion hearings, evidence may be admitted and used as proof only if it is the kind of evidence on which reasonable persons can rely in the conduct of serious affairs. A recommendation by the panel to expel must be supported by substantial evidence that the student committed an expellable offense.
Findings of fact shall be based solely on the evidence at the hearing. While hearsay evidence is admissible, no decision to expel shall be based solely on hearsay. Sworn declarations may be admitted as testimony from witnesses of whom the Expulsion Panel determines that disclosure of their identity or testimony at the hearing may subject them to an unreasonable risk of physical or psychological harm.
The decision of the Expulsion Panel shall be in the form of written findings of fact. The final decision by the panel shall be made within three (3) school days following the conclusion of the hearing.
If the Expulsion Panel decides not to recommend expulsion, the pupil shall immediately be returned to his/her educational program or be given the opportunity to transfer to another Alliance school with mutual agreement of the parent and the other Alliance school.
Special Procedures for Expulsion Hearings Involving Potential Risk of Physical Harm to Witnesses
Alliance X College-Ready Academy X may, upon a finding of good cause, determine that the disclosure of either the identity of the witness or the testimony of that witness at the hearing, or both, would subject the witness to an unreasonable risk of psychological or physical harm. Upon this determination, the testimony of the witness may be presented at the hearing in the form of sworn declarations which shall be examined only by Alliance X College-Ready Academy X or the hearing officer. Copies of these sworn declarations, edited to delete the name and identity of the witness, shall be made available to the pupil.
Special Procedures for Sexual Assault or Battery Offenses
1. The complaining witness in any sexual assault or battery case must be provided with a copy of the applicable disciplinary rules and advised of his/her right to (a) receive five days notice of his/her scheduled testimony, (b) have up to two (2) adult support persons of his/her choosing present in the hearing at the time he/she testifies, which may include a parent, guardian, or legal counsel, and (c) elect to have the hearing closed while testifying.
2. Alliance X College-Ready Academy X must also provide the victim a room separate from the hearing room for the complaining witness’ use prior to and during breaks in testimony.
3. At the discretion of the Expulsion Panel conducting the hearing, the complaining witness shall be allowed periods of relief from examination and cross-examination during which he or she may leave the hearing room.
4. The Expulsion Panel conducting the expulsion hearing may also arrange the seating within the hearing room to facilitate a less intimidating environment for the complaining witness.
5. The Expulsion Panel conducting the expulsion hearing may also limit time for taking the testimony of the complaining witness to the hours he/she is normally in school, if there is no good cause to take the testimony during other hours.
6. Prior to a complaining witness testifying, the support persons must be admonished that the hearing is confidential. Nothing in the law precludes the person presiding over the hearing from removing a support person whom the presiding person finds is disrupting the hearing. The person conducting the hearing may permit any one of the support persons for the complaining witness to accompany him or her to the witness stand.
7. If one or both of the support persons is also a witness, Alliance X College-Ready Academy X must present evidence that the witness’ presence is both desired by the witness and will be helpful to Alliance X College-Ready Academy X. The person presiding over the hearing shall permit the witness to stay unless it is established that there is a substantial risk that the testimony of the complaining witness would be influenced by the support person, in which case the presiding official shall admonish the support person or persons not to prompt, sway, or influence the witness in any way. Nothing shall preclude the presiding officer from exercising his or her discretion to remove a person from the hearing whom he or she believes is prompting, swaying, or influencing the witness.
8. The testimony of the support person shall be presented before the testimony of the complaining witness and the complaining witness shall be excluded from the hearing room during that testimony.
9. Especially for charges involving sexual assault or battery, if the hearing is to be conducted in the public at the request of the pupil being expelled, the complaining witness shall have the right to have his/her testimony heard in a closed session when testifying at a public meeting would threaten serious psychological harm to the complaining witness and there are no alternative procedures to avoid the threatened harm. The alternative procedures may include videotaped depositions or contemporaneous examination in another place communicated to the hearing room by means of closed-circuit television.
10. Evidence of specific instances of a complaining witness’ prior sexual conduct is presumed inadmissible and shall not be heard absent a determination by the person conducting the hearing that extraordinary circumstances exist requiring the evidence be heard. Before such a determination regarding extraordinary circumstance can be made, the witness shall be provided notice and an opportunity to present opposition to the introduction of the evidence. In the hearing on the admissibility of the evidence, the complaining witness shall be entitled to be represented by a parent, legal counsel, or other support person. Reputation or opinion evidence regarding the sexual behavior of the complaining witness is not admissible for any purpose.
Written Notice to Expel
Following a decision of the Expulsion Panel to expel, the Principal or designee shall send to the student and parent/guardian written notice of the decision to expel, including the panel’s adopted findings of fact. This notice to expel a student will be sent by certified U.S. Mail and will include the following:
a) The reinstatement eligibility review date. The student must have successfully completed the conditions outlined in the rehabilitation plan.
b) A copy of the rehabilitation plan. The rehabilitation plan typically includes one or more of the following categories: 1) academic performance (i.e. maintain a certain grade); 2) satisfactory behavior expectations (i.e. no suspensions related discipline referrals); and 3) other (i.e. counseling or other social services support that will have a direct impact on remedying the identified issue).
c) The type of educational placement or study plan during the period of expulsion.
d) Appeal procedures.
e) The specific offense(s) committed by the student
f) Notice of the student’s or parent’s obligation to inform any new school district in which the student seeks to enroll of the student’s status with Alliance X College-Ready Academy X.
Appeal of Expulsion
An expulsion decision may be appealed within 30 calendar days of the date of the Panel’s decision to expel. The parent/guardian must submit the appeal in writing to the principal or designee. An Expulsion Appeal Panel shall be convened within 30 school days of receipt of the written appeal, at which time the student’s parent/guardian must attend to present their appeal. The Expulsion Appeal Panel shall have three members. Each member shall be an employee of an Alliance school. However, Panel members shall not be Alliance X College-Ready Academy X employees, shall know nothing of the incident or student, and shall not be the same individuals who served on the expulsion panel. The panel will be chosen by the School Board President. The scope of review of the Panel shall be limited to whether there is relevant and material evidence which, in the exercise of reasonable diligence, could not have been produced or which was improperly excluded at the expulsion hearing. The decision of the Expulsion Appeal Panel is final. Parents will be notified of the Expulsion Appeal Panel’s decision, in writing, within two business days of the hearing. In the event that Expulsion Appeal Panel reverses the expulsion, the student shall be immediately reinstated.