Can You Appeal a Suspension from School In Court ?

In Burns by Burns v. Hitchcock, 683 A.2d 1322 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1996), two students were suspended by the school principal for 10 days for the possession and/or consumption of alcoholic beverages while on a school sponsored trip. A suspension is defined as an "exclusion from school for a period of from 1 to 10 consecutive school days." 22 Pa. Code 12.6(b)(1). "Suspensions may be given by the principal or person in charge of the public school." 22 Pa. Code 12.6(b)(1)(i). Prior to the suspensions, each student had an informal hearing before the principal and superintendent. At the request of the parents of the two students, the school board convened a special meeting. At the meeting, the board affirmed the principal's decision to suspend the students. The Court found that the board's special meeting was nothing more than a gratuitous gesture to the students and their parents; therefore the board's affirmation of the principal's decision had no legal consequences and was not an adjudication. In contrast to a suspension, an expulsion requires a prior formal hearing in accordance with 22 Pa. Code 12.8. 22 Pa. Code 12.6(b)(2).