Procedural Due Process and Substantive Due Process: Key to Upholding Fairness in School Disciplinary Proceedings
The U.S. Constitution guarantees that all persons within the territory of the United States have a right to due process. This means that legal proceedings must be conducted fairly, and all individuals have the right to certain protections under the law. Two key elements of due process are procedural due process and substantive due process.
Procedural due process is centered on fundamental principles of fairness, and focuses on which legal procedures must be followed in state proceedings to ensure that such hearings are conducted legitimately. Procedural due process concerns incorporate various aspects such as notice of allegations, opportunity for hearing, basis of decision, availability of counsel, among others.
Substantive due process requires that certain rights are guaranteed regardless of the fairness or integrity of hearing procedures. In school discipline proceedings, students have a right to appeals proceeding and protection from excessive punishment.
Unfortunately for Arkansas Students, there is not much protection provided by Arkansas Law 6-60-109 regarding school disciplinary hearings.
Arkansas Law Provides Narrow Due Process Protections for Students in School Disciplinary Proceedings
Students enrolled in state-funded institutions in Arkansas only have limited rights when facing disciplinary action because Arkansas Code 6-60-109 merely allows them to request an appeal. The students receiving ten or more days’ suspension or expulsion are eligible provided allegations made against them resulted in disciplinary actions other than academic dishonesty charges.
They can choose between two options; having an attorney license representative or a non-attorney advocate who can represent them entirely during the school’s hearing appeal proceedings if they go for it. If both parties (students) involve themselves in a complaint case from one against another, each student has a legal right to representation by licensed advocates or attorneys representing their respective interests.
It can seem like this requirement under Arkansas law for providing representation by counsel, be it a licensed attorney or an advocate safeguard students rights, but is only partly accurate. For example, in states like Kentucky and Arizona, various student rights are granted explicitly by the statutes titled the Kentucky Campus Due Process Protection Act and the Arizona Revised Statutes 15-1866 respectively.
However, Arkansas’s provision grants convicted parties with room to proceed with appeals with representation, but limited to cases summoned disciplinary action against them other than dismissal following academic dishonesty charges.
Consequences Sustained By Students Accused Of Code of Conduct Violations
It is worth noting that Arkansas Code 6-60-109 only recognizes students’ right for representation when they get suspended or expelled from school for ten days or more seeking an appeal on account of being accused and found guilty of violations other than academic dishonesty. While some may argue that suspension isn’t that big of a deal as compared to expulsion, there are enormous consequences sustained by students even after being suspended. Such consequences include missed learning opportunities via incomplete grades or transcript gaps that can prove difficult at job interviews.
In extreme cases where there’s expulsion as punishment infliction upon a student in instances other than conduct violations sparked by academic dishonesty allegations can lead to unexpected financial hardship both for affected students themselves and their respective families.
The Spodek Law Group offers support through this challenging time
Todd Spodek is a passionate Attorney-Advisor who defends students involved in disciplinary hearings and appeals proceedings in state-funded institutions of higher education within Arkansas territory. Hence zero protection provisions made regarding the institutions defense; Joseph provides excellent counseling against allegations made against you or your loved one through skilled professional legal representation.
Even where explicit protection provisions have been made regarding defense (such as confirmed hence statutory protections afforded proof presented through this article); professional assistance remains invaluable during school disciplinary hearings acting as valuable resources towards resolving appeal hearings effectively. Whether you’re a student or a family member that has been suspended, expelled, or suffered any form of punishment as a result of accusations levied against you for conduct violations, Todd Spodek is here to offer legal advice and representation that can navigate the complicated Arkansas system.
Please call 212-300-5196 or contact us online if you find yourself struggling with Arkansas universities concerning school disciplinary hearings or appeals processes. With The Spodek Law Group’s expert guidance, those treacherous times shouldn’t be navigated alone.