Senate Bill 1043 — School board hearings, executive session

Senate Bill 1043 — School board hearings, executive session

by
Parrish Miller
January 30, 2021

Bill Description: Senate Bill 1043 protects the privacy of students by requiring that expulsion hearings be held in executive session, which means closed to the public.

Rating: +1

Amendment Analysis: The Amendment to Senate Bill 1043 does not change the rating, but it does make significant changes to the bill. Rather than requiring hearings related to cases of expulsion or denied enrollment to be held in an executive session, the revised bill allows (but does not require) that "a decision to expel or to deny enrollment of a student may be made in executive session." The amendment does stipulate that "the student shall not be named in the minutes of the meeting." While the amended bill still provides some degree of increased privacy for students, that privacy is substantially less than in the original version.

Does it violate the spirit or the letter of either the U.S. Constitution or the Idaho Constitution? Examples include restrictions on speech, public assembly, the press, privacy, private property, or firearms. Conversely, does it restore or uphold the protections guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution or the Idaho Constitution?

Senate Bill 1043 amends Section 33-205, Idaho Code, to require that hearings held by a school board of trustees, in cases of expulsion or denied enrollment, be held in an executive session, which means it is closed to the public. The bill applies the same requirement to discussions regarding the suspension of a student. 

It is important to understand the context of such matters and why protecting student privacy is important. Idaho code requires that pupils who are expelled or denied enrollment, when they are within the age of compulsory attendance, will "come under the purview of the juvenile corrections act."

Though they officially have control only over a school system, members of a school board of trustees are effectively empowered to hand down a type of conviction and force a minor into the criminal justice system. It should also be noted that the grounds for expulsion are subjective; a student need not commit criminal or dangerous behavior. Examples of the grounds for expulsion include being a "habitual truant," "incorrigible," or "continuously disruptive."

Protecting the privacy of students will help to shield them from reputational harm that could disrupt their lives and prejudice a community and potential employers against them.

(+1)

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