In the course of maintaining law and order in the educational arena due process has to be observed. School officials and administrators are in charge of maintaining law and order in the school environment. This means that they have to understand the importance of following the due process especially when dealing with the offenders in the educational arena. Procedural due process refers to the various aspects of the law which have to be followed in the course apprehending and the trial of the crime suspects. In this regard every person is entitled to a fair process of arrest and trial. Before an individual is deprived his right to life, property and liberty there must be an adequate notice and a fair process of judgment with a neutral judge. The procedural due process applies in the course of administering justice and exercising of authority in the educational arena.(Essex, 2005).
Substantive due process comes into application when the authority is punishing an individual who has been convicted of crime. In this regard the process of punishment just processes and procedures must be followed to ensure that the authorities do not take away an individual’s right to life, property and freedom without a proper justification. Substantive due process essentially protects the substantive rights of an individual. The two types of due process are applicable in the educational arena whereby the students can be the main offenders when they go against the school rules and other routines. School administrators have the responsibility of drafting rules and regulations that govern the conduct and behavior of students.
This ensures order and prevents non-violent behavior amongst the students as they study within the school environment. The law must be followed in the process of drafting the course of action and regulations in cases of violations of school rules and regulations. The students are adults and they have their rights as provided for in the constitution. Procedural and substantive due processes all work to ensure that the students are not deprived off their rights as the school administrators enforce law and order in the schools. In the course of exercising their authority school administrators have to follow the procedural due process to ensure that the students are treated fairly and there are no subjective and impulsive courses of action against students. (Essex, 2005).
The two types of due processes are all used to curtail the excesses of the school administrations when handling discipline cases of students. With the procedural due process, the school administrators cannot subject the students to unfair sanctions such as denying them a right to own property within the school premises without providing adequate notice to the students. For instance students cannot be denied to own expensive electronics within their school without following the substantive and procedural due process. The two prevent the school administrators from misusing their authority to exploit or abuse the rights of the students.(Bell,2004)
Fairness is an important tenet which is imparted by the two due processes. Under the two school personnel are under an obligation to treat all students despite their economic, political, racial or social backgrounds. Essentially they control the way the personnel act towards the students in the cause of maintaining law and order. For instance if a student comes from a wealthy family and he or she is found to have violated the school rules, he or she has to be subjected to the same treatment and due process just like a student from a poor economic background. .(Bell,2004)
The interests of both the school administrators and the students are well catered for by due process. This is in light of the fact that the school administrators are playing their role in maintaining order in the schools. The students on the other hand have to enjoy their fundamental rights as provided for in the First Amendment. A harmonious co-existence between the two stakeholders is therefore achieved with the due process. In this sense the students can understand their mistakes when they go against the school rules while at the same time the school authorities understand very well their mandate in the course of applying sanctions to the offending students.
While in the school setting, students are likely to engage in deviant behavior that can call for stiff actions such as suspension or expulsion from the administration. Before making a decision to apply these sanctions, the administrators have to give the students a procedural due process which in this case means a notice of hearing. Offenses such as disobedience to authority can be addressed procedurally by ensuring that the student is informed of the offence and being given a chance to explain or clarify the actions that amounted to the offense. For the serious offences in the school the concerned should be given some written notice of the crimes committed. This should serve to notify the student and allow him or her fair hearing in the school board before serious action is taken against him or her. (Essex, 2005).
In a school setting procedural due process is likely to affect the manner in which the students are disciplined in terms of sanctions such as suspension or dismissal from the school premises. On the other had substantive law would tend to affect the specific rights the students are supposed to enjoy. In the case of student publications in the media a student editor from Kansas was dismissed from his duties for publishing information that the school administration considered to be sensitive or inappropriate. In this particular case there was no proof provided to the student of the damage that was done by the publication. Furthermore the editor was not given a chance to clarify the intention of the publication. He was simply asked to tender his resignation. The publication was then withdrawn from the rest of the students. A directive was then issued on the journalism teacher to be screening all the articles that would be published in future. .(Bell,2004)
This case relates to procedural due process not being followed by not allowing the student editor to clarify on the subject and content matter. Following the procedural due process in this case should also entail investigating into the nature of the content and the intention. A school administrator has to follow the due procedural due process before dismissing the student from editorial duties. On the other hand this case can also be used to articulate substantive due process in the sense that the right of the student to freedom of speech and expression is being curtailed in the school publication. The students have a right to express themselves using the school publication.
However when the administration uses an excuse of sensitive material to curtail the freedom by completely removing the publication and apply future censorship then it brings about the issues of substantive due process. This is in light of the fact that the student editor has been denied his fundamental freedom of expression. The First Amendment provides for the conditions under which the school administration can censor student’s publications. For instance if there is sufficient proof that the publication incites other students, it is defamatory or causes school disorder then it can be sanctioned by the school officials. However in the above case, no proof of these aspects is provided and the student is relieved off his or her duties as the editor of the school publication. (Essex, 2005).
Indeed, substantive due process in the educational arena acknowledges the fact that limitations may arise on the rights of the teachers and administrators in taking action against offensive students. In another school case, the administration suspended a section of students for participating in demonstrations around the school. There was no sufficient evidence other than word of mouth against them by other students. When a student is suspended for participating in illegal demonstrations against the school rules issues of substantive due process can arise in the ensuing course of action by the school administration.
In this case an appeal can be launched against the school administration if a parent feels that a student has been wrongly suspended from school. The concerned parent can argue that the school authorities took an arbitrary action. The substantive due process can be illustrated in a case whereby two students violate the school rules and one is suspended while the other is favored. The two students come from white and black races. The White student’s insults the black student and they end up in a fight. When they are reported the black student is suspended while the white is favored. The parents of the black student can argue that the school administration has violated the substantive due process of the concerned student as a result of racial discrimination. (Essex, 2005).
In conclusion, substantive and procedural due process demand that the school administration deals with student’s misbehavior is a fair manner. It is in the best interest of the students and the administration to follow the due process when handling the cases in a school arena. School administrators must be cautious when handling student cases because some actions can amount to infringement of their due process.