Generally, there are two phases to a superintendent’s suspension hearing: the fact-finding stage and the decision stage.

n the fact-finding stage, the violation and the specifics of the punishment are established. During this stage, the school and the student, or their parent, advocate, or lawyer present their case.

In the decision stage, the Hearing Officer will then decide whether the student’s suspension is supported by competent and substantial evidence showing that the student has participated in the objectionable conduct. During this stage, the Hearing Officer will determine the appropriate punishment, such as if the student will be suspended and, if so, for how long. The Hearing Officer will consider numerous factors in determining the punishment. Some of these factors include the student’s behavioral history, academic performance, and materials submitted reflecting the student’s character in a positive light from teachers, coaches, or other community members who know the student.

When the Hearing Officer is contemplating the appropriate punishment, it is crucial to make a formal request to the Hearing Officer that the student is immediately reinstated and that the suspension is expunged from the student’s record at the end of the school year or suspension period. Ultimately, it is within the Hearing Officer’s discretion to determine the appropriate punishment.