Prince George’s revises its student appeals process

The Prince George’s Board of Education revised the school system’s policy on student appeals to mirror guidelines created earlier this year by the Maryland State Board of Education that speed up decisions on disciplinary actions.

The policy, which received final approval by the county board on Thursday night, calls for decisions in serious discipline cases to be made within 10 days.

The state proposed the guidelines to address concerns about an uneven, and often lengthy, approach school systems used to deal with disciplinary actions. Numerous cases across the state found students waiting weeks before receiving a disciplinary hearing.

School systems across Maryland are making changes to their policies to reflect the board’s recommendations.

The board approved the policy with an 11-2 vote. School board members Verjeana Jacobs (District 5) and Lyn Mundey (District 7) opposed the change.

Before the vote, questions were raised about a clause in the policy that allows a board committee to recommend a ruling to the full board. Some members wondered if it was allowed under state regulations.

The board attorney said other school districts use a committee process and the board would not be in violation of state regulations using a similar process.

Aaron Price, the chief hearing officer for the Office of Appeals, told the board that the number of cases that a committee would hear would not be overwhelming, based on recent experience.

He said that in the last school year, there were no appeals to the board. The year before, he said, there were about 20.

Price said the numbers dropped after the school system redefined what is considered an expellable offense. The number of expellable offenses nearly dropped in half, going from 15 to eight, he said.

Ovetta Wiggins writes about K-12 education.
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