Schools in the state of Tennessee and elsewhere have rules and policies. When a student breaks said rules or policies, he or she faces consequences such as suspension and/or expulsion from school. There are procedures governing disciplinary actions imposed upon students, and part of those procedures is a Student Disciplinary Hearing Authority (SDHA), sometimes called a Disciplinary Hearing Authority (DHA).
What is a SDHA? A SDHA is composed of no more than five individuals recommended by the school district superintendent (or director of schools) and approved by the Tennessee State Board of Education. One or more SDHA members can be an official school system employee, but Education Board members cannot be SDHA members. SDHA members hold their positions for twelve months; however, they can be reappointed.
Continued uniformity in the types of individuals serving on a SDHA is important. As a result, SDHA members often are a Student Services official, a school-district-wide attendance official, and a school principal (or a school assistant principal). Other SDHA members are picked from a selection of persons from the school district and community, determined by the Student Services official. The other persons picked for SDHA membership cannot exceed the five-member limit but can be educators, other school employees, school resource officers, and sometimes other individuals, such as pastors, juvenile court officials, and business officials. However, school district personnel serving on a SDHA cannot belong to the school where the expelled or suspended student went or presently goes.
What does a SDHA do? A SDHA performs appeals for students whose suspension from school has lasted more than ten days. Generally, after making a decision concerning a student’s suspension, expulsion, or other punishment, the SDHA can keep the school principal’s disciplinary decision in force, revoke the student’s suspension without any conditions, revoke the student’s suspension with acceptable and reasonable conditions, send the student to an alternative school or program, or suspend the student for a particular length of time.
If you have questions about disciplinary hearings, related procedures, and the like, talk to a lawyer. For more information and to have your questions answered, contact Nashville Attorney Perry A. Craft.