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Thursday, Mar. 9th 2017

Public vs. Private Schools: Due Process Differences

The rights you enjoy as a student in public school might not be the same if you attend private school. That’s because everything pertaining to your stay at private school, especially boarding school, is governed by something called “contract law”. This is important to understand especially when it comes to infractions of the discipline rules or code of conduct. Here are some facts about students’ rights in public and private schools.

Students at private colleges and universities facing academic or disciplinary action need to know that “due process” is a constitutional law guarantee of fair treatment that applies only to schools operated by federal, state or local government. State universities, colleges and community colleges must afford students due process including notice of allegations, a right to a hearing or to, at least, give the student’s side of the story and an unbiased hearing officer or panel. Students facing disciplinary charges rather than academic failure must receive greater protections, including right to counsel and right to confront their accuser, plus the right to testify and call witnesses on their behalf.

How can you find out what your rights are at your private school? Start by reading your STUDENT HANDBOOK carefully to understand what rights are provided. You signed a document indicating that you had read the handbook, understood it and would abide by it. Your parents also signed a similar document. Those documents are legal contracts. They spell out the rules which govern your relationship with your school. Students at private schools have only those rights promised in the student handbook and those are CONTRACT LAW promises only, under your school’s state contract law.

If you are concerned about your rights whether at a public or private school, contact Clifford Cohen to setup a free and confidential initial consultation.


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