Arizona Due Process Protection Law Impacts School Disciplinary Proceedings

In recent years, many states have enacted laws requiring colleges and universities to provide due process guarantees for students involved in school disciplinary actions. Some statutes, including Florida HB 233 (2021) and Kentucky HB 290 (2022), provide relatively broad procedural protections for those accused of violating school codes of conduct. Arizona state law also grants fairly comprehensive due process protections for students facing school disciplinary proceedings. If you are an Arizona student (or the parent of one) facing school disciplinary allegations, you should be aware of your due process rights.

Arizona State Law Provides Broad Procedural Due Process Safeguards for Students in Trouble with Schools

In 2019, legislators enacted the Arizona Revised Statutes 15-1866 (also known as Arizona HB 2563), which governs universities and colleges and establishes minimum procedural requirements in disciplinary proceedings involving students. The Arizona statute requires schools to publish their disciplinary procedures and guarantee the student:

  • The right to present a defense
  • The right to call witnesses
  • The right to receive advanced written notice of the school's claims
  • The right to review evidence supporting the school's claims
  • The right to question witness testimony
  • A decision by an unbiased person or panel
  • The right to appeal the decision

Although the Arizona law provides robust procedural protections, the statute only requires the school to disclose evidence to support its allegations—it does not require disclosure of exculpatory evidence in the school's possession.

Students Face Longstanding Consequences if Found Responsible in Disciplinary Proceedings

Students with alleged disciplinary violations—such as school code of conduct violations—face significant challenges in properly defending themselves. Despite Arizona's due process statute, many students (and their parents) find it difficult to successfully present a defense while navigating individualized school policies and procedures during an already stressful situation.

Students found in violation of school codes of conduct after one-sided school disciplinary proceedings risk several punishments, which can negatively impact their future educational and career opportunities and even their housing status. Common (but serious) penalties students risk include:

  • suspension
  • expulsion
  • probation
  • loss of scholarships and/or financial aid
  • termination of university housing

Even a suspension, which is usually the absolute minimum sanction when the student is found responsible, can result in an incomplete class grade, transcript gap, and a disciplinary record that potential employers will ask you to explain.

Contact the Lento Law Firm for An Experienced Attorney-Advisor Committed to Student Defense

High stakes demand proper representation. Attorney-advisor Joseph Lento has dedicated his career to protecting students' rights and zealously representing students across the United States in school disciplinary actions and appeals. If you need representation against a school disciplinary allegation, contact the Lento Law Firm online or call 888-535-3686.

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If you, or your student, are facing any kind of disciplinary action, or other negative academic sanction, and are having feelings of uncertainty and anxiety for what the future may hold, contact the Lento Law Firm today, and let us help secure your academic career.

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