Cf: GAK, GAMC, GBN
The Superintendent and his/her designee shall possess the authority to discipline employees when an employee's behavior warrants such action. A principal shall have the authority to recommend to the Superintendent when appropriate that employees at the school in which he/she is employed should be disciplined.
Discipline of an employee shall be progressive in nature such that penalties for poor job performance or broken rules become increasingly harsh as similar or related conditions continue or infractions are repeated. Such progressive discipline, however, shall not inhibit the Superintendent’s authority or, in the case of certain employees, the School Board’s authority, to discipline, suspend, or terminate an employee based on the circumstances of any single event. Documentation of employee behavior, employee performance and any disciplinary action taken shall be properly and thoroughly recorded.
Should any disciplinary measure become necessary, any documentation shall be considered confidential and treated in accordance with statutory provisions and School Board policy.
Hearing procedures are statutorily required for certain disciplinary actions for teachers as defined below. However, such procedures do not prevent the Superintendent and/or principal from taking other disciplinary measures which do not require a hearing, as he/she feels appropriate.
For the purpose of this section:
Discipline and disciplinary action shall include only suspension without pay, reduction in pay, involuntary demotion, or dismissal.
Written notice shall be considered given when the notice is hand delivered to the teacher, or on the day it is delivered to the teacher by registered mail, certified mail, or a commercial courier.
The Superintendent may take disciplinary action against any non-tenured teacher after providing such teacher with the written reasons therefor and providing the teacher the opportunity to respond. The teacher shall have seven (7) days to respond, and such response shall be included in the teacher’s personnel file. The Superintendent shall notify the teacher in writing of his/her final decision. The teacher shall not be entitled to a hearing before the School Board.
Within sixty (60) days of such notice, the teacher may seek summary review in district court of whether or not the Superintendent’s action was arbitrary or capricious.
A teacher with tenure shall not be disciplined except upon written and signed charges by the Superintendent or his/her designee of poor performance, willful neglect of duty, incompetency, dishonesty, immorality, or of being a member of or contributing to any group, organization, movement, or corporation that is by law or injunction prohibited from operating in the state of Louisiana, and then only if furnished with a copy of such written charges and given the opportunity to respond.
The teacher shall have ten (10) calendar days from written notice of the charges to respond, in person or in writing. Following review of the teacher’s response, the Superintendent may take interim disciplinary action, which may include placing the teacher on paid administrative leave. If the teacher has been arrested for a violation of any of the following: La. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§14:42 through 14:43.5, 14:80 through 14:81.5, any other sexual offense affecting minors, any of the crimes provided in La. Rev. Stat. Ann. §15:587.1, or any justified complaint of child abuse or neglect on file in the central registry pursuant to Children’s Code Article 615, the administrative leave shall be without pay. Paid administrative leave shall not exceed fifty (50) days from notice of the Superintendent’s interim decision.
Within ten (10) calendar days after written notice of the interim disciplinary action or within ten (10) calendar days after receipt of the teacher’s response if no interim disciplinary action is taken, a teacher may request a hearing before a disciplinary hearing officer. If the teacher fails to timely request a hearing, the disciplinary action shall become final.
Upon request for a review hearing, the Superintendent shall randomly appoint a hearing officer from a list of persons previously approved by the School Board as disciplinary hearing officers. If the school district serves fewer than twenty thousand students, the School Board shall maintain a list of at least five (5) hearing officers. If the school district serves twenty thousand students or more, the School Board shall maintain a list of at least ten (10) hearing officers. All hearing officers shall be qualified to serve as a disciplinary hearing officer in accordance with state law. If the School Board fails to maintain such a list, the Superintendent may randomly appoint a hearing officer from a list of persons previously approved by the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.
Such hearing may be private or public, at the option of the teacher, and shall commence no sooner than ten (10) calendar days nor later than thirty (30) calendar days after receipt of the teacher's request for such hearing. The disciplinary hearing officer shall have the power to issue subpoenas, and shall conduct the hearing in accordance with procedures adopted by the School Board.
The teacher shall have the right to appear before the disciplinary hearing officer with witnesses on his/her behalf and with counsel of his/her selection. The disciplinary hearing officer shall hold a hearing and review on whether the interim decision of the Superintendent was arbitrary or capricious and shall either affirm or reverse the action of the Superintendent. The disciplinary hearing officer shall notify the Superintendent and the teacher of his/her final determination, with written reasons, within ten (10) days from the date of the hearing. If the Superintendent's disciplinary action is affirmed, it shall become effective upon the teacher's receipt of the decision of the disciplinary hearing officer. If the Superintendent's disciplinary action is reversed, the teacher shall be restored to duty.
Within sixty (60) days from the postmarked date of such written notification of the decision of the disciplinary hearing officer, the School Board or the teacher may petition a court of competent jurisdiction to review the matter as a summary proceeding.
The time periods contained above may be extended by mutual agreement of the parties.
BUS OPERATORS/CONTRACT APPOINTEES
The Superintendent shall have the authority to discipline tenured bus operators and persons employed on performance contracts, including suspension with or without pay, when circumstances necessitate immediate action. If sufficient grounds for suspension without pay are subsequently not found to exist by the School Board or Superintendent, the bus operator or contract appointee shall be reimbursed for any loss of compensation.
The Superintendent shall have the authority to discipline, including suspension, any non-tenured, non-contract employee with or without pay, when circumstances warrant such action.
HEARING PROCEDURES FOR EMPLOYEE DISCIPLINE
La. Rev. Stat. Ann. §17:443 and §17:444 require school districts to utilize Disciplinary Hearing Officers (DHO) when certain disciplinary actions, as defined by law, are contemplated against tenured teachers and against administrators. These procedures shall govern the conduct of such hearings before a DHO within the school district.
List of Board Approved Hearing Officers
The Superintendent shall maintain a list of at least ten (10) Board approved DHOs to consist of retired members of the judiciary.
Selection of Disciplinary Hearing Officers; Conflicts of
When the services of a DHO are required, the Superintendent shall randomly select the name of a DHO from the School Board-approved list in the presence of at least one witness. Such random appointment shall be made by the use of either a random name generator or by the blind drawing of a name from the entire list of board-approved DHOs.
Upon such selection, the proposed DHO shall be provided with written notification of appointment and a listing of the parties and potential witnesses. The DHO must complete and return that portion of such notification attesting to both the DHO's continued qualification to serve and the absence of a conflict of interest that would prohibit him/her from serving.
In the event that the DHO selected is an immediate family member of any of the parties or witnesses to testify at the hearing, is prohibited from serving due to a conflict of interest prescribed by the Louisiana Rules of Professional Conduct, or is otherwise unavailable to conduct the hearing within the time delays provided by law, another name shall be randomly selected.
Compensation of Disciplinary Hearing Officers
Each person selected as a DHO shall be entitled to compensation at the maximum rate provided for attorneys with like experience by the Louisiana Attorney General. The DHO shall submit a detailed, itemized invoice to the Superintendent no later than fifteen (15) days after the conclusion of his/her duties. The invoice of the DHO shall be paid by the School Board no later than forty-five (45) days after submission. Any expense for which reimbursement is sought must be supported by detailed receipts.
Duties and Responsibilities of Disciplinary Hearing Officers
A DHO appointed as provided herein shall have the duty and responsibility to:
confer with the parties and their counsel regarding scheduling;
advise the teacher or administrator that the hearing will
be either public or private, at the option of the teacher or administrator;
review whether the interim decision of the Superintendent
was arbitrary or capricious and shall either affirm or reverse
the action of the Superintendent;
notify the Superintendent and the teacher or administrator
of his final determination, with written reasons, within ten (10)
days of the conclusion of the hearing;
maintain and safeguard all exhibits accepted or proffered
into evidence at the hearing; and
such other duties and responsibilities as may be imposed upon him/her by law and/or these procedures.
Powers and Authority of Disciplinary Hearing Officers
A DHO appointed as provided herein shall have the powers and authority to:
schedule the date, time and location of the hearing, if the parties cannot agree;
administer oaths and affirmations;
regulate the course of the hearings;
fix the time for filing pre or post-hearing briefs, if requested;
direct the parties to appear and confer to consider simplification of the issues; and
sign and issue subpoenas requiring attendance and giving of testimony by witnesses.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, all parties shall have the right to (1) present evidence on all issues of fact, (2) present argument on all issues of law and policy, and (3) conduct such examination of witnesses as may be required for the development of a complete record.
General Rules Concerning Hearings
Hearings shall be scheduled in accordance with the timelines
established by law and shall be held in private or open session,
at the option of the teacher or administrator. Hearings
shall be held at the School Board's central office, unless a different
location is fixed by the DHO.
Hearings shall be conducted on weekdays during normal business
hours, unless the DHO determines that the just and efficient completion
of the hearing, compliance with the mandated delays, or the DHO's,
counsel's or party's schedule requires a deviation from such times.
The DHO may suspend a hearing, upon both parties' agreement
and request, when it appears that a resolution of the disciplinary
action at issue has been reached between the parties. Before
such hearing is suspended, such resolution shall be entered upon
the record of such proceeding and shall have the same preclusive
force and effect as a compromise entered and received in open
court. Any verbal agreements placed into the record
shall be memorialized in writing and signed by all parties within
seven (7) calendar days.
The DHO shall require that the proceedings be conducted
with dignity and in an orderly and expeditious manner and shall
control the proceedings so that justice is done.
Both parties shall have the right to appear before the DHO
with witnesses on their behalf and with counsel of their selection.
The normal order of the hearing shall be as follows:
The opening statements by the Superintendent/designee
and the teacher or administrator, in that order;
The presentation of the evidence of the Superintendent/
designee and of the teacher or administrator, in that order;
The presentation of the evidence of the Superintendent/
designee in rebuttal; and
The argument of the Superintendent/designee, of the teacher or administrator, and of the Superintendent in rebuttal, in that order.
This order may be varied by the DHO when circumstances so justify.
Before testifying, every
witness shall be required to declare that he will testify truthfully,
by oath or affirmation.
A witness who is subpoenaed
but who fails to appear or a witness who appears but refuses to
testify without proper cause shall be considered in contempt,
and the DHO may apply to a district judge in the Parish where
the hearing is being held for an Order holding the recalcitrant
witness in contempt.
The DHO may order, upon
a showing of appropriate safeguards, live testimony of a witness
to be presented during the hearing by teleconference, video link,
or other visual remote technology, if the witness is beyond the
subpoena power of the DHO or when compelling circumstances are
Formal exceptions to
rulings or orders of the DHO are unnecessary. Contemporaneous
objections with the reasons stated therefore to such rulings are
In all cases, the DHO
shall state the reason for his/her ruling as to the inadmissibility
of the evidence.
When the DHO rules against
the admissibility of any evidence, he/she shall either permit
the party offering such evidence to make a complete record thereof,
or permit the party to make a statement setting forth the nature
of the evidence.
At the request of any
party, the DHO may allow any excluded evidence to be proffered,
subject to cross-examination on the record during a recess or
such other time as the DHO shall designate. When the
record is completed during a recess or other designated time,
there will be no necessity for the requesting party to make a
statement setting forth the nature of the evidence.
If the DHO permits a
party to make a complete record of the evidence held inadmissible,
it shall allow any other party the opportunity to make a record
in the same manner of any evidence bearing upon the evidence held
to be inadmissible or, in case of the unavailability of such evidence
or inability to the other party to do, to make a statement setting
forth the nature of the evidence.
The Louisiana Administrative
Code is not applicable to hearings conducted before the DHO. In
addition, a strict interpretation of the Louisiana
Code of Evidence shall not be used to exclude evidence when, in
the opinion of the DHO, the principles underlying the Code of
Evidence and attendant circumstances suggest that such evidence
Each hearing shall be
recorded by a certified court reporter.
Such court report's appearance
fee shall be paid by the School Board within forty-five (45) days
of the presentation of an invoice.
Upon the request of any
party to the DHO, he/she shall request the court reporter to transcribe
the record of the entire hearing and transmit the original transcript
of the hearing to the DHO. The requesting party shall
be obligated to pay all costs and fees associated with the transcription
of the hearing by the certified court reporter and for obtaining
a copy thereof. Notice of such request for transcription
shall be contemporaneously transmitted to all parties who may
obtain a copy of such transcript from the court reporter upon
paying for same.
Upon request of any party
directed to the DHO, he/she shall cause the original transcript
of the hearing and all exhibits accepted or proffered into evidence
to be filed with the appropriate district court. The
requesting party shall be obligated to pay all costs and fees
associated with the filing of the transcript and exhibits directly
to the clerk of court at the time of filing.
All exhibits accepted
or proffered into evidence shall be maintained and safeguarded
by the DHO for a period of not less than one hundred twenty (120)
days after transmission of his/her final determination to the
Superintendent. After the expiration of such one hundred
twenty (120) day period, all evidence shall be sealed and returned
to the Superintendent.
The DHO shall not be called as a witness upon review by the District Court, unless there is a dispute as to the formalities required by law for such hearings and only when ordered by the District Court.
Revised: July, 2012
Revised: September 18, 2014
Revised: November 20, 2014
Revised: November 21, 2019
Ref: La. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§13:3204, 17:81, 17:81.8, 17:443
Reed v. Orleans Parish School Board, April 30, 1945, 21 So.2d 895
Frazier v. East Baton Rouge Parish School Board, App. 1 Cir. 1961, 128 So.2d 250
Board minutes, 9-18-14, 11-20-14, 11-21-19
East Baton Rouge Parish School Board