13: Appeals to the Board 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 where legislated or delegated.
This policy exists to ensure that final decisions are derived in consideration of procedural fairness. The Appeal Hearing process is not intended for an individual to appeal a decision solely out of disagreement with that decision.
School Dispute Resolution and Process for Appeal
1. The Superintendent shall maintain administrative procedures for dispute resolution that includes an operational process for prior-level appeal.
2. Procedures used to settle disputes or concerns regarding student matters, and between parents and school staff, shall occur in a manner that supports a cooperative and collaborative learning environment for students.
3. The Board reserves the right to hear an appeal on any matter resolved by the Office of the Superintendent; including:
3.1. The Board reserves the right to hear appeals on decisions regarding matters that significantly affect the education of a student, or of a child enrolled in an early childhood services program (as per the Education Act (s. 42(2); and
3.2. The Board reserves the right to hear appeals on decisions regarding a matter of religion or human sexuality education (as per the Education Act (s. 58.2(1)).
4. The Board reserves the right to determine whether an appeal is suitable for any matter.
4.1. For clarity, and prior to a decision being appealed to the Board, and including those matters identified in s. 3.1, and s. 3.2, a matter shall first be appealed to the Superintendent.
Appeal to the Board
5. All Division processes for appeal shall, at a minimum, respect the process for appeal as legislated in The Education Act (s. 42).
6. An appeal to the Board shall be requested within seven (7) school days from the date that the individual was informed of the Superintendent's decision.
6.1. In order to be considered as a valid request for appealing a decision, the request for the appeal shall be filed, in writing, and shall contain the name of the party filing the request for appeal, the date of the filing, the matter at hand, and the notable rationale to justify the request for the appeal, in consideration of section three (3) and section four (4) of the Policy specific to the request.
7. Parents, or an independent student as defined by the Education Act, when appealing a decision to the Board, have the right to be assisted by a resource person or by resource persons of their choosing.
7.1. The responsibility for engaging and paying for such assistance rests with the parent(s), guardian(s) or the independent student.
8. The Board reserves the right to access and/or obtain resources, including the services of legal counsel at any point throughout the appeal process.
9. The Board Chair shall determine whether or not the appeal request has sufficient merit to proceed formally with an Appeal Hearing.
10. Should the Board Chair determine sufficient merit exists for an Appeal Hearing to proceed, the Board shall form an Appeal Hearing Panel by resolution:
10.1. The Appeal Hearing Panel shall consist of the following:
10.1.1. The Board Chair and/or the Board Vice Chair, and
10.1.2. A minimum quorum of three (3) Trustees that includes either the Board Chair or the Board Vice Chair, or both, and that consists of sufficient additional Trustees to maintain a quorum of three (3).
11. Appeal Hearing shall be scheduled so as to ensure that the person making the appeal and the Superintendent, or designate, whose decision is being appealed, has reasonable notice and time to prepare for the presentation.
11.1. The Board Chair reserves the right to adjust timelines, as deemed necessary.
12. The Appeal Hearing shall be heard in-camera, with specified individuals in attendance.
13. The Appeal Hearing decision, and the justification for that decision, shall be communicated to the appellant (person or party requesting the appeal) once a decision has been reached, and confirmed in writing following the hearing;
13.1. Included in the communication to the appellant shall be information that the appellant has the right to seek a review by the Minister (per s. 43(1) of the Education Act).
14. In full adherence to this Policy, Appeal Hearings shall proceed according to Schedule 13.1 Board Appeal Hearing Process.
Expulsion of a Student
15. 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.
15.1. Appeals regarding the Superintendent’s expulsion of a student shall proceed to the Minister in accordance with the Education Act (s. 43(1)).