ERIC Number: ED524142
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2006
The Aftermath of "Goss v. Lopez": Procedural Due Process for Suspensions and Expulsions. A Legal Memorandum: Quarterly Law Topics for School Leaders. Vol. 6, No. 4, Summer 2006
Zirkel, Perry A.
National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP)
In its landmark decision in "Goss v. Lopez" (1975), the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that for a suspension of 10 days or fewer, public school officials must provide the student with at least the following minimum of procedural protection on the basis of the Fourteenth Amendment's due process clause: oral (or written) notice of the charges and, if the student denies the charges, an explanation of the evidence and an opportunity to present his or her side of the story. The Fourteenth Amendment requires due process for deprivations of "property" or "liberty," and the "Goss" Court concluded that the state compulsory education statute provided the requisite property interest and, alternatively, that the serious stigma arising from such discipline constituted the requisite liberty interest. Thus, the Court's rationale suggested that removals for periods of more than 10 days would require more formal procedural protections. In the three decades subsequent to Goss, the lower courts have decided a plethora of procedural due process cases connected with suspensions and expulsions of public school students. At the same time, various states have codified through legislation or regulations not only the Goss procedures for suspensions up to 10 days but also additional procedures for short- and long-term removals. This edition of "A Legal Memorandum" provides a representative sampling of the published court decisions regarding disciplinary actions that range from limited removals to zero-tolerance expulsions under the Fourteenth Amendment procedural due process clause and the related state laws, but it does not consider the discrete line of court decisions concerning the suspension or expulsion of special education students under their separable set of laws, including the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
Descriptors: Public Schools, Suspension, Civil Rights, Courts, Laws, Disabilities, Court Litigation, Student Rights, Legal Responsibility, Special Education, Expulsion, Federal Legislation, Zero Tolerance Policy
National Association of Secondary School Principals. 1904 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191-1537. Tel: 800-253-7746; Tel: 703-860-0200; Fax: 703-620-6534; Web site: http://www.nassp.org
Publication Type: Collected Works - Serial; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: National Association of Secondary School Principals
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Fourteenth Amendment; Goss v Lopez; Individuals with Disabilities Education Act