13: Appeals Regarding Student Matters
Through legislation, policy and practice, the Board supports the importance of a fair process of appeal while recognizing the authority of the Superintendent, the Principal or the Teacher as the final authority in legislated or delegated matters.
The Division’s appeal process is intended to provide a process to ensure that final decisions are fairly derived. The process is not intended for an individual to appeal a decision out of disagreement with that decision.
School Dispute Resolution
1. The resolution of disputes or concerns at the school level between parents and school staff shall support a cooperative and collaborative learning environment for students;
1.1. The Superintendent shall ensure that a dispute resolution procedure is established and adhered to by all staff.
1.2. Decisions that significantly affect the education of a student may be appealed to the Board within a reasonable time from the date that the parent or student was informed of the decision.
1.3. Prior to a decision being appealed to the Board, it must be appealed to the Superintendent.
2. All Division processes for appeal shall, at a minimum, respect the process for appeal as legislated in The Education Act (s. 42).
3. The Board may review specific matters, as requested in accordance with this Policy, to determine whether a decision was reasonable in the circumstances; including:
3.1. A decision regarding a matter that significantly affects the education of a student, or of a child enrolled in an early childhood services program (as per the Education Act (s. 42(2)); or
3.2. A decision regarding a matter of religion or human sexuality education (as per the Education Act (s. 58.2(1)).
4. An appeal to the Board shall be made within five (5) days from the date that the individual was informed of the Superintendent’s decision.
4.1. In order to be considered as a valid request for appeal, the appeal shall be filed in writing and must contain the name of the party filing the appeal, the date, the matter at hand, and the reason, in consideration of section 1. of this policy for the appeal.
5. Parents, or an independent student, when appealing a decision to the Board, have the right to be assisted by a resource person(s) of their choosing.
5.1. The responsibility for engaging and paying for such assistance rests with the parents or student.
6. The hearing of the appeal shall be scheduled so as to ensure that the person making the appeal and the Superintendent, or designate, whose decision is being appealed, has sufficient notice and time to prepare for the presentation.
7. The appeal shall be heard in-camera, with specified individuals in attendance.
8. The appeal hearing shall be conducted in accordance with the following guidelines:
8.1. The Board Chair shall outline the purpose of the hearing, including:
8.1.1. An opportunity for the parties to make representation in support of their respective positions to the Board;
8.1.2. The provision of information, which may include expert medical, psychological and educational data and that may be presented verbally or in written form by witnesses;
8.1.3. A process for the Board to receive information and to review the facts of the dispute; and
8.1.4. A process through which the Board can reach a fair and impartial decision.
8.2. Notes of the proceedings shall be recorded for the purpose of the Board’s records.
8.3. The Superintendent and/or staff shall explain the decision and give reasons for the decision.
8.4. The appellant shall present the appeal and the reasons for the appeal and shall have an opportunity to respond to information provided by the Superintendent and/or staff.
8.5. The Superintendent and/or staff shall have an opportunity to respond to information presented by the appellant.
8.6. Board members shall have the opportunity to ask questions or clarification from both parties.
8.7. No cross-examination of the parties shall be allowed.
8.8. The Board shall meet without the respective parties to the appeal in attendance to arrive at a decision regarding the appeal.
8.8.1. The Board may have legal counsel in attendance to guide the decision-making process appropriately.
8.9. If the Board requires additional information or clarification in order to make its decision, both parties to the appeal shall be requested to return to the hearing for the required additional information.
8.10. The Board decision and the reasons for that decision shall be communicated to the appellant once a decision has been reached and confirmed in writing following the hearing.
8.10.1. Included in the communication to the appellant shall be information that the appellant has the right to seek a review by the Minister regarding the provision of specialized supports and services to a student, (per s. 43(1) of the Education Act).
Expulsion of a Student
9. In accordance with section 52 of the Education Act, and Board Policy 11 – Board Delegation of Authority, the Board delegates, to the Superintendent, the power to make decisions with respect to the expulsion of students.
9.1. Appeals regarding the Superintendent’s expulsion of a student shall proceed to the Minister in accordance with the Education Act (s. 43(1)).