great flexibility and speed to the due process needs of certain classes of students by developing
statutory regimes for servicing students with disabilities, providing education for non-native
students, and ensuring all American children receive a public education regardless of legal
The next horizon in education may properly be viewed as the heightened provision of
constitutional safeguards for students facing disciplinary consequences that, according to abundant
research, have the overwhelming power to end students’ educational careers and channel them
toward the criminal justice system.291 This goal calls for strong procedural safeguards, to include
impartial adjudicators beyond the appearance of impropriety or bias that is present in many school
discipline settings with unfortunate persistence. In spite of the presence of many skilled and caring
educators who would nobly do their utmost to serve as impartial adjudicators and would most
likely succeed in doing so, the consequences at stake for students facing school exclusion require
a heightened standard, akin to comparable administrative settings, to comport with the minimum
of procedural due process. A best practices approach is simply not enough for our students, nor
are thin protections that allow the specter of bias to linger. Because our students deserve justice to
perform “its highest function in the best way, justice must satisfy the appearance of justice.”292
The stakes for our students are simply too high for anything less.
290 See, e.g., Individuals With Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C. §§ 1400 et. seq.; Equal Educational Opportunities
Act, 20 U.S.C. §§ 1701 et. seq.; Lau v. Nichols, 414 U.S. 563 (1974); Gomez v. Ill. State Bd. of Educ., 811 F.2d 1030
(7th Cir. 1987).
291 See supra, notes 35, 38, 40.
292 In re Murchison, 349 U.S. at 136.