California Law Requires Fair Adjudication of School Disciplinary Matters

The U.S. Constitution guarantees due process of law to all persons within the United States and its territories. This constitutional promise is in the Fifth Amendment and applies to all states through the Fourteenth Amendment. Due process of law is the principle that all legal proceedings and laws must be fundamentally fair and not unreasonable. Many states including California, Maryland, and Arizona have enacted their own due process statutes for civil (non-criminal) proceedings such as school disciplinary actions.

California Students in School Disciplinary Proceedings Have Narrow Due Process Protections

Pursuant to the California Civil Code, special proceedings of a civil nature must be fairly adjudicated. This state law applies to K-12 students in California as well as California university and college students and employees of schools who are involved in disciplinary proceedings for violating school codes of conduct.

The California statute grants students in school disciplinary proceedings relatively narrow due process protections, and no right to appeal. Rather than listing requirements and standards for the proceedings like Maryland Senate Bill 607 and the Kentucky Campus Due Process Protection Act, the California law only requires that civil matters - including school disciplinary actions - be decided in a fair manner. This general due process protection is available to all parties to the special civil proceeding, not just students or those defending against allegations of school misconduct.

Students Defending Against Misconduct Allegations Risk Harsh Sanctions

Students who cannot successfully defend themselves against alleged school code of conduct violations may face the following sanctions, which may negatively impact academics, social activities, college admissions, and career options:

  • Detention
  • Suspension
  • Loss of financial aid / scholarships
  • Removal from athletic, extracurricular, or after school activities
  • Removal from campus housing
  • Participation in program / counseling
  • Expulsion

Joseph Lento is an Attorney-Advisor Defending Students Nationwide in Civil Proceedings Involving Alleged Misconduct in Schools

If you or your family member is involved in a dispute that may lead to a civil proceeding, contact the Lento Law Firm online or call 888-535-3686. Unlike local law firms that have limited experience working within the school bureaucracy, attorney-advisor Joseph D. Lento specializes in student defense and has represented students across the United States. Contact the Lento Law Firm to learn how we can help.

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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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