May Students Confront Witnesses Against Them?

By Mark Walsh — January 07, 2008 1 min read
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In this week’s “Law & Courts” column in Education Week, I explored a couple of recent court rulings about what I thought was an interesting question: Do students have a due-process right to confront the witnesses against them in school disciplinary cases?

As I discussed in the column, two courts in New Mexico and Illinois answered “no.” As it turns out, most courts that have confronted the issue (no pun intended) have also ruled against students, citing such things as the complexity such a right would add at the school disciplinary level, the potential effect on whether students would be willing to inform administrators of their peers’ rule-breaking, and even the prospect of retaliation against student witnesses if they had to confront the accused.

The New Mexico Court of Appeals decision can be found here.

Unfortunately, for the Illinois case, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois’ opinion is not readily available on the Web. I will post it later if I can.

A version of this news article first appeared in The School Law Blog.