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If you have questions contact Nicole Proesch, legal counsel for the Department and the State Board,
at 515-281-8661 or nicole.proesch@iowa.gov.
BOOK: 27 
DECISION: 726 
MONTH-YEAR: May - 2016
IN RE: Expulsion of Student A.
APPELLANT: Expulsion of Student A.
APPELLEE: St. Ansgar Community School District
KEYWORDS: Expulsion
FULL TEXT: https://www.educateiowa.gov/documents/appeal-decisions/2016/05/book-27-decision-726 
DETAILS: The State Board in reviewing appeals under Iowa Code section 290.1 has been given broad authority to make decisions that are ''just and equitable.''  The standard of review in these cases requires that the State Board affirm the decision of the local board unless the local board decision is ''unreasonable and contrary to the best interest of education.'' 
  The Appellants argue that Student A was not afforded due process in this case.  Specifically, they argue that notice was provided to the Appellants and not Student A directly.  Due process in an expulsion case like this requires written notice of the alleged offense; notice of the time, date, and place of the hearing; sufficient time to prepare an adequate defense, to present witnesses, and to cross examine witnesses; notice of individual rights; and if the hearing conducted by the board was free of bias. 
  The Appellants argue that Student A was not afforded due process in this case.  Specifically, they argue that notice was provided to the Appellants and not Student A directly.  Due process in an expulsion case like this requires written notice of the alleged offense; notice of the time, date, and place of the hearing; sufficient time to prepare an adequate defense, to present witnesses, and to cross examine witnesses; notice of individual rights; and if the hearing conducted by the board was free of bias. 
  The Appellants also argue that the use of prior incidents of discipline at the hearing against Student A was improper and based on hearsay and they had no opportunity to cross examine the witnesses regarding prior disciplinary incidents.  However, in an administrative proceeding of this nature rules of evidence are more relaxed and the ultimate test of admissibility is whether the offered evidence is reliable, probative, and relevant. 

Finally, the Appellants also argue that the District should have given Student A 504 plan and the failure to do so was a violation of due process.  However, the Appellants offer no evidence to support this claim. 

As long as the punishment of the Board is reasonable, the decision will be upheld.  Based on the record, the State Board cannot say that the decision of the Board was unreasonable, given the circumstances in this case and the long history of disciplinary issues with Student A. 
  These types of situations must be taken seriously by the District or the District can be held liable.  The District is right to be concerned that this behavior will continue if Student A is allowed to remain in school.  Thus, it is clear from the record that the Board thoughtfully considered the evidence presented and the recommendations of administration to expel Student A.  We cannot say that the Board acted unreasonably.       

While this may not be the preferred educational outcome for Student A, we also understand that Student As conduct is not the preferred conduct that the Board expects of its students.  Furthermore, Student As conduct was progressive in nature and Student A failed to correct behavior which he had previously been warned about. 
OUTCOMES: The decision of St. Ansgar Community School District Board made on October 13, 2015, to expel Student A for a period until the end of the 2015-2016 academic school year, not allow Student A on school premises without permission, and requiring Student A to obtain counseling before re-admittance is hereby AFFIRMED.