many instances, the superintendent’s hearing is the only fact-finding hearing, and the board’s
review of that hearing will be limited to the factual record developed there.91
Some states expressly provide for a hearing before the local board of education.92 Within
this practice, some provide for an initial hearing before an administrator as detailed above, while
others do not proscribe an initial hearing, providing instead for students faced with long-term
discipline to present their cases directly to the board.93 In states where the only proscribed hearing
is before the local board, the administrator is thereby prevented from serving in any adjudicatory
role.94 After such a hearing, the local board is generally permitted to conduct private deliberations
from which any non-board members are excluded, 95 though this meeting may be open to
administrators or the district’s attorney.96 Some states allow a student to object to closed
deliberations, forcing the session to be conducted in the student’s presence. 97 This practice may be
limited by the privacy rights of other students protected by a state’s privacy laws. 98 Some states
give local boards or superintendents the option of delegating the hearing procedures to independent
hearing officials who are not employees of the district or members of the local board. In these
jurisdictions, the delegation of conducting the hearing is not an affirmative requirement. 99 Rather,
the school board may elect to delegate, but is not affirmatively required to do so. 100
In states where delegation of the formalized fact-finding hearing to independent hearing
officers is permitted, some mandate impartiality requirements on those hearing officers. For
example, Ohio provides that hearing officers may be licensed attorneys, but that no hearing officer
serving as a board’s advising attorney may be appointed by that board to hear a case within that
district. 101 Connecticut’s education code provides that no member of the local board may serve on
the impartial hearing panel. 102 Similarly, California requires that, where larger counties utilize
administrative hearing panels in lieu of the county board of education, those panels must be made
up of individuals who hold a California education certification but are not board members or
employees of the local school district seeking the disciplinary action. 103 Arizona is one of a
collection of states that employs a list of state-approved hearing officers available for local districts
to utilize in discipline hearings, 104 while California permits school districts to draw from a pool of
91 See COLO. REV. STAT. § 22-33-105(2)(c) (2013).
92 See 105 ILL. COMP. STAT. 5/10-22.6(b) (1988); ARK. CODE ANN. § 6-18-507(d)(1) (2013) (providing for local
board’s review of superintendent’s recommendation for long-term discipline).
93 See 105 ILL. COMP. STAT. 5/10-22.6(b) (1988).
94 ARIZ. REV. STAT. ANN. § 15-843(I)–(J) (2013).
95 ARK. CODE ANN. § 6-18-507(d)(2)(A) (2013); CAL. EDUC. CODE § 35146 (2016).
96 See Brewer v. Austin Indep. Sch. Dist., 779 F.2d 260, 263–64 (5th Cir. 1985) (no due process violation where
principal, superintendent, and school board attorney were present at closed-session, post-hearing deliberations).
97 CAL. EDUC. CODE § 35146 (2016).
99 See ARIZ. REV. STAT. ANN. § 15-843(F)(2)(a)–(b) (2013); CAL. EDUC. CODE § 48918(d) (2016); CONN. GEN. STAT.
§ 10-233d(b) (2015).
101 OHIO REV. CODE ANN. § 3301.121(D)(2) (2016).
102 CONN. GEN. STAT. § 10-233d(b) (2015).
103 CAL. EDUC. CODE § 48919.5(a) (2016) (requiring that “an impartial administrative panel” be composed of “three
or more certificated persons”); See also John A. v. San Bernardino City Unified Sch. Dist., 654 P.2d 242, 244 (Cal.
104 ARIZ. REV. STAT. ANN. § 15-843(F)(2)(b) (2017).