legislature affirmatively limits the ability of a superintendent to be involved in the investigative
functions of discipline cases should he or she choose to do so.
Most state legislatures specify in their education codes which school official is responsible
for imposing the charges entailing long-term discipline upon the conclusion of an investigation.
At one extreme are the states that allow long-term suspension and expulsion proceedings to be
initiated by building-level administrators, such as the principal.66 State legislatures that reserve the
power of assigning long-term suspension or expulsion to the local school board or an external
governing body, such as a state education agency, are at the other end of the extreme.67 However,
some states opt to allow the superintendent to initiate long-term suspension or expulsions before a
later board hearing.68 The determination of which administrator orders or recommends the initial
long-term disciplinary consequence is beyond the scope of this Note. However, in jurisdictions
where that administrator is also the adjudicator in the students’ cases, this initial question has
ramifications for the level of impartiality the student might receive.
The two extremes with regard to initiation of discipline proceedings can be seen by
contrasting legislatures. Consider, for example, Ohio’s requirement that the superintendent, not a
building-level administrator, initiate expulsion proceedings.69 Ohio permits superintendents to
adjudicate expulsion hearings.70 Though the superintendent’s decision may be appealed to the
school board, this appeal may not be as much of a neutral escape hatch for the condemned student
as it first appears, since the superintendent was likely hired directly by the board and works closely
with its members on administrative matters. Under such circumstances, a superintendent might be
conceivably analogized as simultaneously occupying the roles of prosecutor as she investigates
and initiates proceedings, trial court judge as she adjudicates at the initial hearing. In addition, in
her ability to sway the board’s decision because of her close working relationship with those
individuals, she may be analogized to the role of an appellate law clerk as she influences the
board’s decisional process. Notably, none of the Ohio education code’s regulations restrict such
ex parte interactions.71
All state codes proscribe the “some kind of hearing” required by Goss.72 However, states’
laws on who is eligible to be an adjudicator of that hearing vary widely. Following is a brief
discussion of the typical multiple-hearing practice that most school districts employ. The Note
then turns to a review of a broad grouping of state codes that have adopted similar practices with
regard to the adjudication of disciplinary hearings.
ii. Adjudication of Charges and the Multiple Hearing Model
Before surveying the variety state disciplinary hearing practices taken by legislatures, it is
helpful to gain a high-level institutional understanding of the skeletal discipline procedure
66 See ARIZ. REV. STAT. § 15-843(D)(2) (2013); GA. CODE ANN. § 20-2-753(a) (2004); MASS. GEN. LAWS ch. 71 §
37H (2014); MICH. COMP. LAWS §380.1311 (2008); HAW. REV. STAT. § 302A-1134 (2014).
67 See, e.g., D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 5-B, § 2506.1 (2017) (reserving imposition of long-term suspension and expulsion to
the District’s Chancellor of schools).
68 See OHIO REV. CODE ANN. § 3301.121(d)(1) (2016); ARK. CODE ANN. § 6-18-507(c)(d)(1d)(1) (2013).
69 OHIO REV. CODE ANN. § 3313.66(B)(7) (LexisNexis 2016).
70 Id. § 3301.
71 See generally OHIO REV. CODE ANN. § 3313.66 (2016).
72 See Goss, 419 U.S. at 579.