Exclusion from Proms or Graduation Cermonies

The message in its entirety is attached below.

You may prohibit a student from attending a prom or graduation ceremony when he or she poses

a real threat of violence or disruption to the event. It may also be possible to bar a student from

a prom or graduation when his or her conduct has been particularly egregious, and where the student

has previously been advised in writing. For example, students who vandalized school buses have been

excluded from their graduation ceremony where they previously had been put on notice that such

misconduct could result in the exclusion. Students who are already on suspension at the time of the

prom or graduation also may be prohibited from attending these events, but the exclusion must be

proportionate to the infraction committed.

In considering whether to exclude students from such one-time events, you should consider whether

the punishment would further your school’s educational goals. As with all other disciplinary

actions, adverse treatment may not be predicated upon generalizations or vague standards. For

example, basing eligibility on “satisfactory attendance” or “good citizenship” is too vague.

Instead, exclusion from events must arise from specific, identifiable incidents.

Since attendance at a prom or graduation ceremony is voluntary, the deprivation of such an activity

does not require a full due process hearing. However, basic fairness dictates that students receive

notice and some kind of opportunity to be heard. You should make students aware of regulations and

specific penalties for their violation prior to their application. You should disseminate

guidelines for a prom or graduation ceremony to students  and their parents in advance of these

events. When exclusion from a prom or graduation is being considered, you should give the student

and his or her parent an opportunity to discuss the underlying facts and

the potential disciplinary action before any measures are taken.

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