Florida Law Expands Due Process Protections for Students and Provides Appeal Option

Florida House Bill 233, which became effective state law on July, 1, 2021, provides broad procedural protections for students at postsecondary education institutions who are accused of violating the school's code of conduct and face disciplinary actions. In addition to setting due process protections for Florida's universities and colleges, the statute also gives students the right to appeal the results of the school disciplinary proceedings.

Florida HB 233 Provides Broad Due Process Protections for Students and Student Organizations

The Florida statute affords broad due process protections to college and university students and student organizations involved in school disciplinary actions, including the:

  • Right to the assistance of an advisor, advocate, or legal representative
  • Right to receive timely and detailed notice of the allegations
  • Right to access all known information relating to the allegations, including inculpatory and exculpatory information
  • Right to a list of witnesses
  • Presumption of innocence of the accused
  • Right to a decision by an unbiased hearing officer
  • Right to remain silent
  • Right to present evidence and witnesses
  • Right to appeal the results to a senior university administrator designated to hear such appeals
  • Right to receive an accurate and complete record of the proceedings

Unlike states like Kentuckythat provide a cause of action to appeal a decision in state court to a judge, Florida's student due process statute limits the right to appeal to a designated school administrator.

Students Accused of Code of Conduct Violations Face Serious Risks

Florida House Bill 233 provides students with due process protections because they can face serious consequences if they are found in violation of a school's code of conduct. Potential punishments for violating a university code of conduct include: suspension, expulsion, and termination of school housing. While a suspension (the temporary removal of the student from school and school activities) may not sound like a harsh punishment, it can result in an incomplete grade or transcript gap that the student may be required to explain to potential employers. A student removed from university housing due to a disciplinary violation faces the challenge of finding safe, affordable housing as another considerable obstacle to finishing their educational degree program on time and within budget (if at all).

Joseph D. Lento is an Experienced Attorney-Advisor Dedicated to Defending Students in School Disciplinary Actions and Appeals

Florida law mandates that students in postsecondary education institution disciplinary actions have the right to the assistance of an advisor, advocate, or legal representative. Under Florida House Bill 233, such an advisor-attorney may directly participate in all aspects of the school disciplinary proceeding, including presenting information and questioning witnesses.

If you or your family member has been accused of a disciplinary violation, contact the Lento Law Firm online or call 888-535-3686. An attorney-advisor with several years of experience defending students across the United States against disciplinary accusations, Joseph D. Lento will zealously protect your rights and help students and their families navigate complex school policies and protocols.

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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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