119 Kids and the Law Does the felony complaint need to be a school-related offense for the school to suspend the student? No. The felony complaint does not need to be related to school. The complaint can originate from an incident in another town or when school is not in ses- sion. What rights do students have when they are facing exclusion for a felo- ny charge /conviction? Any student accused of violating Massachusetts General Laws chapter 71, Sec- tion 37H ½ based on being charged with a felony (as listed above) or being convicted of a felony is entitled to the following: • Written notice of the reason for exclusion and • Notice of the student’s right to appeal the decision. * Note: Although not included in the statute,there is case law (Goss v.Lopez) that states a formal hearing is required for any exclusion longer than 10 days. Is there a right to appeal the decision made by the principal? Yes. A student suspended or expelled for a felony charge or complaint has only five days to notify the superintendent of the appeal. The superintendent should hear the appeal within three days. At the hearing, the student is enti- tled: • To retain an attorney (but an attorney will not be appointed). • To present oral and written testimony on their behalf. The superintendent can overturn or change the decision of the principal or headmaster, including recommending an alternate educational program for the student. The decision of the superintendent is final. The student can ap- peal to the state Superior Court. Legal Issues Related to School 10