A Parent's Guide to Student Discipline Hearings

What you need to know if your child has a discipline hearing

A Parent's Guide to Student Discipline Hearings

My child has a hearing before the Division Superintendent…

  • Referral to the Division Superintendent means a principal has submitted a disciplinary packet to the Division Superintendent due to a serious disciplinary infraction, and a hearing officer will be considering whether the student will remain at his or her school, be long-term suspended, reassigned, or referred to the School Board for the possible expulsion of the student.
  • Expulsion means a student is not permitted to attend any school within the school system for 365 calendar days. Only a School Board can expel a student. The School Board may permit an expelled student to attend an alternative educational setting during the expulsion.
  • Long-Term Suspension means a student is not permitted to attend school for 11-45 school days.  However, if the student’s misconduct involves a statutory weapon, illegal drugs, serious bodily injury, or aggravating circumstances, the student may be suspended from school for up to 364 calendar days.
  • Reassignment means a student is removed from his or her school and assigned to an alternative educational setting.
  • Exclusion means a student may be denied entry into FCPS if the student has been expelled or suspended from school for more than thirty days by a different public school system or a private school.

Why a Hearing?

A student referred to the Division Superintendent, or recommended for exclusion or reassignment, has a right to a hearing before the Superintendent’s Hearing Officer(s). After the hearing, you will receive a letter from the Hearings Office informing you of the decision.

Who Attends the Hearing?

It is important that both you and your child attend the hearing so that your child has an opportunity to provide his or her version of the incident. Your child’s principal and/or assistant principal typically would attend. The principal may also have the school resource officer or other school personnel attend. You are allowed to bring additional adults to the hearing.

Hearings Office Packet

When a principal submits a referral or recommendation to the Division Superintendent, he or she also forwards documentation regarding the incident(s) that occurred, along with information regarding your child’s school record. You may request a redacted copy of that packet from the Hearings Office. Allow two business days for your request to be processed.

Recording Hearings

All hearings are audio recorded. Following the hearing, you may make an appointment to review the audio recording; however, you may not make your own recording. Additionally, parents may elect, at their own expense, to have a court reporter attend and transcribe the hearing.

The Decision

The hearing officer’s letter will relay whether your child will be permitted to remain at his or her school; be reassigned to another regular school or to an alternative school program; or forwarded to the School Board for possible expulsion. Only the School Board can expel a student.

What if I Disagree?

If you do not agree with a hearing officer’s decision to exclude, long-term suspend, reassign, or recommend expulsion, you may appeal the decision to the School Board. Information regarding your right to appeal will be included in the decision letter.

What About School Work?

During this process, your child will continue to receive assignments and to earn credit for all completed school work. Additionally, students suspended from school for ten days or more will receive assistance from the Out-of-School Support Program.

What About Additional Support?

You will be contacted by the school’s social worker, psychologist, or counselor, who will provide additional support or information you might need to address any concerns you may have about your child’s well-being. If you have any immediate concerns, please call your child’s school and ask to speak to his or her counselor.

Please Remember ...

A child who is suspended from school cannot be at school, on any Fairfax County Public Schools property, or in attendance at any FCPS activities during the suspension without written permission

It is important for you to pick up your child’s assignments from the school and return them. This will ensure that your child receives grades during the suspension.

Student conduct is governed by the detailed information found in the current version of Regulation 2601, Student Rights and Responsibilities (SR&R). In the event of a conflict between this document and SR&R, the SR&R shall be controlling in all cases.

You may wish to refer to the following regulations available here:

A Parent's Guide to Student Discipline Hearings