Published by MoASBO, May 2014

Q. Our practice has been not to allow students to make up the work for credit while they are on out-of-school suspension. This practice can result in a significant reduction in a student’s grade depending on the length of the suspension. Recently, several parents have challenged this practice as being illegal. What is your opinion?

A. The answer to your question depends on what information has been provided to students and parents relative to disciplinary consequences. Where Board Policy and the Student Handbook specify that students on suspension will receive no credit for class work during suspension, there are no legal issues in my opinion. If, however, Policy lists only the time in OSS as the consequence, there is an argument that a student was denied due process as they were not told all of the consequences of their misconduct.

If the District’s intention is to preclude make-up credit, be sure your Board Policies and Student Handbook consistently and specifically list the credit loss in addition to OSS. Failure to do so will leave the District open to legal challenges.

At this time of year, there are additional issues of AP Testing and EOC Testing. Parents may claim that a suspension during this testing period will affect graduation and college credit. However, AP Testing, at parent cost, can occur on a later date after satisfaction of this suspension. Similarly, DESE can allow EOC tests to be administered during the summer.

© 2014 Mickes Goldman O’Toole, LLC