School administrators maintain the authority to establish rules and regulations pertaining to student conduct in the school venue. However, this authority is not without conditions and is subject to justifiable criteria (Essex, 2005). Rules in educational settings are essential to sustain a systematic and nonviolent environment and enhance the educational process. The legal system requires educational authorities to justify the need to impose courses of action, rules, or regulations. This is especially true since students benefit from various constitutional rights as adults; as a result, the court system is attentive to ensure the protection of students’ constitutional rights (Essex, 2005). The following treatise will compare and contrast the significance of procedural due process and substantive due process in the education arena. In addition, this treatise will include hypothetical situations that illustrate these concepts.
Compare and contrast procedural due process and substantive due process
The Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States assures American citizens the basic entitlement of due process. Due process entails legal procedures that offer confidence to the enforcement and protection on individual rights that the amendment also provides. There are two types of due process that are applicable in an educational setting: procedural and substantive. Procedural due process necessitates that individuals follow particular legal procedures to guarantee fundamental fairness and to prevent subjective and impulsive actions by educational administrators; substantive due process incorporates a teacher’s individual or personal rights (Essex, 2005).
Procedural due process conveys that when an individual is deprived of life, liberty, or property, the constitution stipulates a course of action to follow. Concisely when one is going to deprive an individual of life, liberty, or property, it is essential to notify him or her of the deprivation, the individual must also be given the occasion for others to hear his or her side; officials need to conduct the hearing in a fair manner. Failure to follow procedural requisites will conclude in a violation of the individual’s constitutional rights (Essex, 2005). Procedural due process necessitates that individuals engage in a legally defendable process to make sure that appropriate precautions are accessible to guard the rights of individuals whose rights are in jeopardy.
The suspension and expulsion of students in educational organizations frequently cause legal action; much of this legal action concerns the conditions of the Fourteenth Amendment’s right to due process (Zirkel, & Gluckman, 1997). In an educational setting, procedural due process means that educational administrators must provide a student with notice and a hearing before taking action. The sum of procedural due process necessary is dependent upon the seriousness of the circumstances (Bell, 2004). Procedural due process for minor offenses may be as simple as informing the student of the offense that he or she commits and offer the student the opportunity to clarify his or her actions. For more serious school action, due process may necessitate a student receiving written notice of the offense and time for a hearing before the school board (Bell, 2004).
Substantive due process conveys that the state has a justifiable objective when intending to deprive a person of life, liberty, or property, and sensibly plan the measures employed to accomplish the objective (Essex, 2005). Educational administrators must satisfy the conditions of both procedural and substantive due process. Some decisions by educational administrators accurate by substantive due process overturn on appeal when failing to meet procedural due process conditions (Essex, 2005). Educational administrators may engage procedural due process conditions when the evidence demonstrates that a legitimate cause did not exist to affirm depriving students of his or her rights. The decision by educational administrators in this case will overturn as well (Essex, 2005). Substantive due process proposes that when teachers’ rights are limited, a legitimate reason should be established to validate such limitations and the real measures engaged to deny a teacher’s rights must be logically considered (Essex, 2005).
Substantive due process associates with the type of the decision made by the school. If a student is suspended, a dispute based on substantive due process will contend that the measures taken by the school were arbitrary and capricious (Bell, 2004). In other words, the decision of the school did not adhere to standards of fundamental fairness and can be constitutionally upheld (Bell, 2004).
Hypothetical situation to illustrate procedural due process
In educational organizations, there exists a policy against weapons and gang related attire. Jeremy, a student at a middle school in Austin, TX was in history class wearing a red bandana. His teacher, noticing the bandana, made a request of Jeremy to remove it. After several pleas, the bandana was still being worn in class. The teacher then asked Jeremy to proceed to the office with a referral for the principle. When Jeremy stood up a pocketknife was lying on the chair. Upon arrival to the principle’s office, Jeremy’s parents were called and a notice of suspension was sent home with him. The notice stated that due to the wearing of the red bandana on school property and the possession of a knife on school property, Jeremy was suspended for 10 days. This case clearly involves a violation of procedural due process since a hearing did not take place and Jeremy was not given an opportunity to address the situation.
Hypothetical situation to illustrate substantive due process
On a chilly October night, 10 high school students attending a football game of a rival school started yelling obscenities to a referee concerning a bad call against their high school football team. When high school students from the home football team heard the commotion, they in turn spoke their minds and instigated a fight with the other students. After an investigation, the students who started yelling obscenities to the referee were expelled from school for a month. A notice was given to the students as well as one sent home for his or her parents. A hearing was also held concerning the allegations. The expulsion of the 10 students was upheld. The students argue that their substantive due process rights were violated and that the expulsion was racially motivated since the students are predominately black and the opposing offenders are predominately white. The students also ascertain that they are being stereotyped as gang members for their actions at the football game. No action was taken against the opposing football team fans for instigating the fight. This is an example of violating substantive due process.
Procedural due process and substantive due process are significant. The amount of due process given to a student prior to action taken by the school will frequently be significant in any legal action against the educational organization (Wayne, 2004). There are two types of due process, procedural and substantive. Procedural due process consists of ample notice, the right to be heard, and reasonable fairness (Wayne, 2004). Substantive due process, on the other hand, is relevant to the subject matter of the decision. Even though notice of the offense was given, a hearing was held, and the allowance of an appeal, the student can argue that the decision was unfair because of the substance of the decision (Wayne, 2004).
In an educational setting, students should understand behavioral expectations. Rules ought to be clear and concise in both implication and function and offer students sufficient information concerning behavior (Essex, 2005). Individuals should keep in mind that reasonable and practical use of educational administrative authority will endure a review of the court system (Essex, 2005). All individuals, including students, benefit from rights that educational administrators need to show consideration for and acknowledge (Essex, 2005). The conditions of both substantive and procedural due process must be met in order to satisfy the requirements of the Fourteenth Amendment (Essex, 2005).
Due process imparts some assertion that educational personnel will act toward students in a fair manner. Although, due process may not be obligatory by the Constitution in the framework of student activities, the best interest of the student, and in due course the school, educational administrators ought to contemplate furnishing students with notice and a chance to be heard and conduct student activities with an approach that is neither arbitrary nor capricious (Bell, 2004). Procedural due process claims affirm flaws in the process of educational organizations; substantive due process claims affirm that the educational organization is arbitrary and capricious or unreasonable (Wayne, 2004).
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