What if I don't agree with the initial suspension?
If you disagree with the initial suspension, then you would prepare a letter of appeal. Please follow the procedures outlined below. Appeals are not considered until receipt of a formal letter of appeal (outlined below). The student will begin serving the suspension until the appeal letter is received. In general, once a written appeal request has been received, the suspension will be placed on hold until the appeals process has ended. An exception to this applies if the student is determined by the principal to be a danger to himself or herself, to others, or deemed to be so destructive or disruptive that the education of other students cannot continue in a safe and orderly manner. If this is the case, the student shall not be allowed to attend school during the appeal process.
Appeal Procedure for Short-Term Suspensions - One to Ten School Days
The following procedures are required when a parent/guardian/ student appeals a short-term school suspension of one to 10 school days.
- Submit a letter explaining your reasons for appealing the suspension to the school administrator who suspended the student. Deliver, email or mail the appeal letter to the school administration within 24 hours of the first notification of your child’s suspension, which is most often a phone call from a school administrator, followed by a letter.
- If your appeal is denied by the administrator who suspended the student, you may appeal in writing to the principal. The appeal letter must be mailed, emailed or delivered to the school within two school days of the day you receive your response from the administrator who suspended the student.
- If your appeal is denied by the principal, you may appeal directly to the Executive Director of Student Services and Equity within three school days of the day you receive your response from the school principal.
- If your appeal is denied by the Executive Director of Student Services and Equity, you may submit a final appeal to the Office of the Superintendent within five schools days of the day your response from the Executive Director of Student Services and Equity. A written letter of appeal must be submitted to one of the people noted below based on your child’s grade level:
Executive Director of Elementary
or Secondary Instruction
Office of the Superintendent
Alexandria City Public Schools
1340 Braddock Place, 4th Floor
Alexandria, Virginia 22314
Suspension Pending a Discipline Hearing
Each student has the right to expect an educational environment in which he or she can strive to achieve his/her intellectual potential. The student is expected to attend school regularly, be diligent in his/her studies and conduct him/herself in such a way that the rights and privileges of others are not violated. The student is expected to accept and demonstrate the obligation of good citizenship to help prevent problems from happening and help solve problems if they occur.
Student disciplinary hearings are conducted when the school believes a student has violated the ACPS Student Code of Conduct and a long-term suspension (10 or more days) or expulsion should be considered.
How does this happen?
When a violation of the Student Code of Conduct occurs that is considered to be especially serious (i.e., weapon at school, drugs or alcohol, physical altercation), the principal will make a determination as to whether or not the violation warrants a long-term suspension or expulsion. Prior to this determination, your child has the right to due process, which means he or she will:
- Be informed of the rule violation and evidence,
- Be provided with an opportunity to present his/her side of the situation, and
- Be provided with an opportunity to appeal the decision.
Once this has occurred, and your child has been suspended with a recommendation for expulsion or a hearing, a representative from the Department of Student Services and Equity will contact you to schedule a hearing. Parents are encouraged to proactively contact the Department of Student Services and Equity at 703-619-8036 to establish a date and time for the hearing.
Suspension days prior to the hearing
Your student will be suspended from ACPS until the time of the hearing. During that time, he or she is not allowed on any ACPS campus or allowed to attend any ACPS events.
Why a hearing?
A hearing is used to determine the appropriate consequence of the significant violation.
What happens at the hearing?
During the hearing, which is facilitated by a Department of Student Services and Equity administrator, the number of steps that is followed to ensure that all pertinent information is presented. Below is a sample agenda of a hearing:
- Review of hearing structure
- Administrative presentation of incident
- Student presentation
- Parent/guardian presentation
- Additional statements
- Closure/determination (note: determination may not occur at hearing)
As part of the disciplinary hearing review process, student records will be reviewed. Such records may include but are not limited to: academics, behavior, attendance/truancy, residency, career plans and assessments, and risk/threat assessments.
Who attends the hearing?
The principal and/or assistant principal, or dean of students from your child's school will attend the hearing. The school resource officer (SRO) may also attend. Additionally, the school may bring witnesses to testify. The hearing officer also has the discretion to invite additional school personnel. It is important that both you and your child attend the hearing so that your child has an opportunity to provide his/her version of the incident. You are allowed to have witnesses come and testify on your child's behalf. You are also allowed to have an attorney if you choose. In addition, the Department of Student Services and Equity administrator will facilitate the session and if needed, a translator or interpreter may also be present.
What are possible consequences from the hearing?
The Department of Student Services and Equity administrator has a wide range of consequences at his/her discretion, including, but not limited to:
- Alternative education program placement
- Alternate instructional support (AIS) center
- Court action
- Detention at school
- Expulsion from ACPS schools
- In-school suspension (ISS)
- Mediation/Resorative Practices
- Out-of-school suspension (OSS)
- Parent conference
- Return to school with or without probationary requirements
- Saturday suspension
- School/community service projects
- Suspension of student privileges
- Tasks assigned by administration
The Department of Student Services and Equity administrator also has the authority to suspend your child for up to one year and recommend expulsion to the Alexandria City School Board.
If you have any additional questions, please contact the Department of Student Services and Equity at 703-619-8036.