This policy will be followed by the Pathways Academy’s appeals committee and school principal when an appeal is made.
Whenever the legal rights of a student may be affected by officials exercising legal decision-making authority, there is an expectation that the decision will be made in accordance with the principles of "procedural fairness" and "natural justice". These principles encompass the following elements:
- If a decision-maker (e.g., Pathway Academy’s appeals committee or school principal) is intending to consider a matter which may affect a person’s rights, that person will be informed of the matter by the principal.
- The person will be given two weeks to make oral or written submissions to the principal or the Pathways’ appeals committee on the matter being considered.
- The person is entitled to know and answer the case against them; they will be informed of, and be given two weeks to respond to, all information submitted which might influence a decision, prior to the decision being made.
- The person will be told the reasons for the decision.
- The decision-maker will act in a manner which is unbiased, fair and open-minded.
Student and Parent Appeal Guidelines
- Students need to be treated with respect and dignity and to know what is expected of them. The Pathways Academy’s appeals committee and principal will follow the code of conduct outlined in the Safety, Acceptance, and Respect Policy.
- In accordance with school policy, a student who is accused of breaching a rule will be notified of that of which he/she is accused, including the essential facts of what he/she is alleged to have done. In more serious cases, notification will also be given to the student’s parents.
- An accused student will be given an opportunity to tell his/her side of the story. The right to be heard is a fundamental element of procedural fairness. Where the stakes are minor, this can be satisfied by the principal or teacher asking the student to explain her/his actions. More serious matters require more formal investigation and documentation with the formation of an impartial appeals committee made up of one board member, one teacher, and one administrator.
- The student and parent will be informed of any appeal or review procedure in accordance with school policy.
- There will be an assurance of no retribution for pursuing an appeal or review. Pathways Academy’s appeals committee will ensure no bias occurs when an appeal is made by following these guidelines:
- Don’t prejudge the evidence of the circumstances of the student’s case or give the appearance (e.g. in public statements) of having done so, even if you have strong convictions on such matters.
- When selecting persons to hear a case or an appeal of a decision, avoid those who have a close out-of-school relationship, family ties, or an adversarial relationship with the student or student’s family, or a staff member who is closely involved in the incident.
- If the Pathway Academy’s appeals committee or school principal has made a previous decision or has been a member of a committee that has made a previous decision that now is under appeal, such a person will only participate in the appeal for the purpose of providing testimony. Such a person will not participate in decision-making at appeal levels.
- The appeals committee will not hear or receive evidence that will not be shared with the other party in the dispute. The appeals committee will not receive evidence or representation from administrators or staff in the absence of the person appealing.
How to Make an Appeal
A minor infraction may be appropriately dealt with by an informal meeting between the principal or teacher and the student. A decision respecting the possible suspension or expulsion of a student would be dealt with by the Pathways Academy appeals committee. In this case the student would be given:
- reasonable notice of the proposed suspension or expulsion which clearly sets out the grounds being relied on; this gives the student and his/her parents an opportunity to prepare a response;
- a hearing at which the student has an opportunity to present reasons why the proposed action should not be taken. Oral and/or written submissions will usually be appropriate with respect to expulsions or lengthy suspensions;
- the opportunity for the student to present witnesses;
- a fair and unbiased decision based upon the evidence presented;
- a timely decision with written reasons.
If Fair Process is not Followed
If the Pathways Academy appeals committee or school principal is unable to resolve the appeal fairly, Pathway Academy’s AMS association’s Ombudsperson may become involved to provide oversight.