Suspension - American Education
The temporary expulsion of a student from school for one or more days for violating school rules and regulations. Most frequently used at middle schools and high schools, suspensions may be short-term (10 days or less), long-term (10 days to a full school year), indefinite (without any fixed term, ranging from one day to a year) and extracurricular (required attendance in classes, but deprived of the right to participate in nonacademic activities). Unlike the disciplinary nature of most suspensions, indefinite suspensions are usually used to remove a student from a situation deemed dangerous to the student or to other students.
Used routinely as the most severe form of discipline short of expulsion, suspensions were the center of a legal struggle in 1975 that sharply modified and curtailed their use. In the case of Goss v. Lopez, the U.S. Supreme Court reaffirmed a lower court’s affirmation of a public school student’s constitutional right, under the FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT, to due process in school disciplinary actions. “Young people do not shed their rights at the schoolhouse door,” wrote Justice Byron R. White for the majority, in the 5-4 decision. The case involved nine Columbus, Ohio, students suspended in 1971 during demonstrations arising from racial disorders. State law then permitted the school to suspend students summarily for up to 10 days without granting those students any recourse or appeal.
The lower court had held that suspended public school pupils had the right to notice of charges against them and an opportunity to defend themselves against such charges. In its decision, the Court added that pupils had an “entitlement” to education in states that guaranteed its residents free, primary and secondary education and that states “may not withdraw that right on grounds of misconduct, absent fundamentally fair procedures to determine whether the misconduct has occurred.” It held that students “must be given some kind of notice and afforded some kind of hearing,” albeit an informal one, before being suspended. Suspension without a hearing deprived the students of their property (the statutory right to an education) and liberty (slurring their school records without proof). As a result of the decisions, most states now require an informal hearing for short-term, indefinite suspensions and extracurricular suspensions, and a formal hearing for long-term suspensions. Across the nation, only about 6.6% of the more than 3 million public elementary and secondary school students are suspended each year, but there are nonetheless more than 3 million suspensions a year because of multiple suspensions of individual students: A student suspended five times equals five suspensions in final Department of Education statistics. The schools suspend 9.2% of male students and 3.9% of female students. Nearly 100,000 students, of 0.21% of the student population, are expelled from public school each year, males making up about 75% of the number.