Student Disciplinary Tribunals

  • A student disciplinary tribunal heard by a disciplinary tribunal officer(s) has been established by the Gwinnett County Board of Education (BOE) to handle all acts of misconduct of students enrolled in the school system that may warrant long-term suspension or expulsion. Disciplinary tribunal procedures are governed by the State of Georgia Public School Disciplinary Tribunal Act. (O.C.G.A. § 20-2-750)

  • Tribunal Referral Process

    If the principal determines that a student should be referred to a disciplinary tribunal, the principal should consult with their Cluster Superintendent in the Division of School Improvement and Operations prior to calling the Office of Student Discipline to schedule a disciplinary tribunal.

  • Composition of Tribunals

    • A tribunal officer will listen to disciplinary tribunals involving up to two students. For tribunals involving three or more students, the tribunal officer may hear the case with one or more assisting tribunal officers. The Director of Student Discipline, or designee, shall determine whether to appoint an assisting tribunal officer to any disciplinary tribunal.
    • Tribunal officers are county administrators trained in conducting disciplinary tribunals.
    • Tribunal officers hear evidence concerning charges of misconduct that have been brought against students which, if proven, may require greater than ten (10) school days and up to one (1) calendar year suspension with a recommendation of permanent expulsion.
    • When two or more students are charged with violating school rules arising from a single incident or essentially the same set of facts, a single tribunal may be conducted to address the rule violations for all the students involved so long as a single tribunal is not likely to result in confusion for the tribunal officer(s) or substantially prejudice one student.

  • Tribunal Proceedings

    All tribunals are recorded electronically. Tribunals before a student disciplinary tribunal officer(s) are confidential and are not open to the public. Staff and student witnesses to a particular case may be requested and/or subpoenaed by the school system to testify on its behalf at the tribunal. Subpoenas for witnesses are obtained from the Office of Student Discipline. It is the responsibility of the student or parent/guardian to deliver subpoenas to the witnesses and arrange for their transportation to the tribunal.

    The evidence presented at a disciplinary tribunal may be physical (drugs, weapons, discipline record, written statements, etc.), as well as testimony from witnesses. At the tribunal, the student or parent/guardian has the right to be represented by an attorney, obtained at their own expense. If an attorney is going to represent the student, the Office of Student Discipline must receive notice at least one school day prior to the tribunal to arrange for an attorney for the school system to be present. Student or parents/guardians may also be represented by an advocate obtained at their own expense.  If an advocate is going to represent the student the Office of Student Discipline must receive at least one school day prior to the tribunal.  Students and parents/guardians by organizations such as the NAACP, SPLC, ACLU, GwinnettSToPP, BMUCH, Ser Familia and many other organizations. If parents require the services of an interpreter, they should request these services from the local school at least two full days prior to the discipline tribunal.

  • How Decisions Are Made

    The disciplinary tribunal officer(s) will determine whether the student was or was not in violation of the Student Conduct Behavior Code and will determine the appropriate consequences. The tribunal officer(s) may consider only the evidence it regards to be relevant to the charges in question in making its determination of whether a rule has been violated The tribunal officer(s) are allowed to give the presented evidence whatever weight the tribunal officer thinks is warranted.

    The disciplinary tribunal officer(s) will review the student’s school records if the student is found in violation of the Code. Both parties are given the opportunity to make a closing or summary statement. The tribunal officer(s) convenes privately to decide the appropriate consequences. The tribunal is concluded when the tribunal officer(s) reads their decision. A letter and other information regarding the decision will be sent to the student or parent/guardian within five (5) working days after the tribunal is held.

  • Appeals

    The Board of Education may voluntarily review any decision of a student disciplinary tribunal; however, reasonable notice of an intent to review shall be given to the pertinent student and parent or guardian. Additionally, the Board of Education for Gwinnett County shall consider appeals from student disciplinary tribunal decisions. Pendency of appeal to the Board will not ordinarily prevent the commencement of the period of suspension or expulsion prescribed by the student disciplinary tribunal officer(s).

    The Superintendent, or designee, (along with the Executive Director of Academic Support) may review any student disciplinary tribunal that is subject to review by the Board of Education pursuant to an appeal or a recommendation of permanent expulsion. In reviewing any student disciplinary tribunal, the Superintendent’s designee may recommend an amendment or reversal of a tribunal officer’s finding. This recommendation will be submitted to the Superintendent for consideration and/or action.

    In addition, the Superintendent may, in his discretion, permit a student to return to school pending the outcome of an appeal; this would occur only where the Superintendent believes that there is a substantial likelihood that the student will ultimately prevail on his appeal.

    No new evidence and no oral argument may be presented to the Board on appeal and all consideration on appeal will be based on the record of the proceedings at the tribunal of the student disciplinary tribunal and the written appellate arguments filed by the parties. Notice of appeal shall be in writing and filed in the Superintendent’s Office in care of the Office of Student Discipline. Notice of appeal or legal arguments of the appellant must be received in the Office of Student Discipline no later than 20 calendar days from the date the decision is rendered. The Board may take any action it determines appropriate, and any decision of the Board shall be final.