In certain circumstances, licensed private career schools may act to temporarily suspend students as an alternative to dismissal. The purpose of this guidance is to identify and explain these circumstances that would need to be present for a school to take such an action, the several consequences should such an action occur, and the follow-up that would be required.
- 8 NYCRR §§ 126.9 (5), (6), and (7) of the Commissioner’s regulations outline the need for all schools to have a defined code of conduct addressed in their catalog. As the regulation states, the catalog is the document whereby policies and procedures for dismissal must be explained. Violations of the school’s code of conduct should be clearly explained along with a procedure by which a student may appeal any action taken by the school. If substantial violations occur, a student may be dismissed for unsatisfactory conduct.
- The policies and practices used by public school districts or private K-12 schools with concern to the behavior and penalties for children of compulsory school age are not appropriate when dealing with adults who are paying for instruction.
- The enrollment agreement is the legal agreement for instructional services signed by the student and the school’s representative (agent). By signing the enrollment agreement, the student and the school acknowledge that the catalog, containing the code of conduct, has been provided to the student.
- As a function of the jointly signed enrollment agreement (EA), students who contract for instruction cannot be denied the hours they were contractually promised, nor can they be charged additional tuition or fees for such instruction.
- Therefore, issues that result in denial of access to instruction may be viewed as a breach of the enrollment agreement. If suspensions are to be considered, the process for imposing a suspension must also be delineated in the catalog. Any action which removes the student from the instructional space or prevents them from undertaking activities which are part of instruction can be deemed a suspension. This is not inclusive of circumstances where a student is sent home after being offered instruction but not participating due to their own failure to comply with school rules, as described in the school catalog. For a suspension to maintain the integrity of required Attendance, Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP), and the regulations specifying the conditions of the EA, the following stipulations must be adhered to:
- A student cannot be charged for missed days due to suspensions.
- A student must be permitted to make up hours missed due to suspension at no additional cost, within the contract timeframe, and the student must agree to the schedule for make-up hours. For example, the school cannot require the student make up hours in the evening if they are a day student and work at night, or otherwise are unavailable in the evening.
- Schools must document how they will take the hours missed due to suspension out of the attempted hours for SAP.
- Schools must document how they will take any quantitative test, quiz, assignment, skills, or project grades out of the calculation of the cumulative grade point average (GPA) due to the suspension.
- Schools must first provide students with a written warning of suspension, as delineated in the protocol outlined in the catalog.
- Student at risk of suspension must meet with the director prior to suspension implementation, as delineated in the protocol outlined in the catalog.
- Students must be informed, in writing, of the suspension including its length and the appeal procedure, as delineated in the protocol outlined in the catalog.
- Students must be given the opportunity to appeal the suspension, as delineated in the protocol outlined in the catalog.
- Students cannot be suspended more than a predetermined number of times in a prespecified timeframe, as delineated in the protocol outlined in the catalog.
Questions regarding this information should be directed to the school’s field associate.