Judiciary (J-COMM)

Committee Co-Chairs

Mia Edmonds ('22)


Vidushi Sharma ('23)

Meeting Time

TBD - Fall 2021

Meeting Place

TBD - Fall 2021


Mia Edmonds ('22)

Dill Eisendrath ('22)

Simon Phipps ('23)

Vidushi Sharma ('23)

Oscar Solberg ('24)

Rhea Veerareddy ('24)

Dahlia Fuld ('25)

Ava Goletz ('25)

Wendy Kares (Staff)

Jeanine King (Staff)

Dr. Linda Addante (Council Executive)


The Council Bylaws outline J-Comm's responsibilities:

1. Purpose

(a) To review administrative decisions in discipline cases when students believe they have been treated unfairly. In its review process, the Judiciary Committee will:

i. Determine whether each student is innocent or guilty.

ii. Decide whether the administration’s decision is appropriate or inappropriate.

(b) To serve as an advisory body to the administration on policy issues of student discipline.

(c) To deal with the present needs of students who seek support in dealing with the administration.

(d) To generate data regarding the effectiveness of student participation in matters of discipline.

2. Jurisdiction

(a) The Judiciary Committee’s decisions on innocence are binding upon the administration.

(b) When the Judiciary Committee determines that a student is guilty, it may either affirm the administration’s decision or punishment or recommend a new punishment to the administration. If the Judiciary Committee recommends a new punishment, the administration must consider that recommendation and must impose a new punishment, although not necessarily the same punishment recommended. After the administration imposes the new punishment, the student has no further appeal to the Judiciary Committee with respect to that punishment. Decisions of the Judiciary Committee, or the administration after a Judiciary Committee recommendation, may be appealed to the superintendent of schools or the superintendent’s designee pursuant to Regulation JCE, entitled “Student Complaints and Grievances.”

3. Composition

(a) Members of the Judiciary Committee will be elected from the general student body.

    1. Students may run for Council as well as JComm.

    2. Elections will take place during the Council elections in the spring.

    3. Freshmen will vote in the fall during orientation.

    4. There will be two students from each grade as well as two staff members.

    5. Nomination forms are required but other forms of campaign are not required.

    6. Individuals will vote for two members from their grade (or staff).

(b) A chair, which cannot be a staff member, selected by the members of the Judiciary Committee. It will be the responsibility of the Chair to ensure the proper functioning of the Judiciary Committee.

(c) The Council Executive will serve on the Judiciary Committee as a non-voting member and a resource for the chair.

4. Rules of Operation: Appeal

(a) The appeal of a disciplinary action will be made in writing by the appellant by 3:00 pm of the school day following such disciplinary action. Exceptions to this provision are at the discretion of the chair. It must be given directly to the Chair of the Judiciary Committee and should outline the nature of the offense, the administration’s response, the reason why the appeal is being made, and what the appellant would like the committee to do.

(b) Upon receipt of the written appeal, the chair will notify the administration and request a written statement. If the chair deems it necessary, the administration will be responsible for obtaining a statement from the person who reported the offense to the administration, and for delivering this statement to the Judiciary Committee.

(d) If a member of the Judiciary Committee feels that a conflict of interest exists, the committee will determine by a majority vote if the appropriate committee member will participate in the hearing. If the chair is thus disqualified, they will appoint a temporary chair for that hearing.

5. Rules of Operation: Hearing

(a) If the committee decides to hear the case, the chair will then call a meeting of the committee within two school days, or within two school day hours if suspension is involved. The chair will be responsible for notifying the appellant and the administration of the time and location of the hearing.

(b) The appellant will appear at the hearing at the appointed time. The appellant may select an advocate who may assist the appellant in presenting the appeal. This advocate must be a student or staff member at Hanover High School. The appellant forfeits his or her right to appeal if he or she does not appear at the appointed time without a legitimate excuse, as determined by the chair of the Judiciary Committee.

(c) A parent is urged to be in attendance during testimony.

(d) The Council Executive will be responsible for getting the names of potential witnesses from the appellant and the administration and notifying witnesses that they have been called to testify and of the time and location of the hearing.

(e) The hearing will be held in closed session with all matters held in confidence.

(f) The Council Executive will swear in the representative of the administration, the appellant(s), and witness(es) before their testimony. If it is later ascertained that an appellant or a witness lied before the committee, such perjury will be referred to the administration, with recommended strict penalties.

(g) The committee will receive testimony from all parties involved and will then carry out deliberations in a closed session. The chair will have discretion over who is allowed in the hearings and who is not.

(h) A quorum is required for deliberation and will consist of four members, one of whom will be the Staff Representative.

(i) Postponement can occur only by a unanimous vote of the Committee because of conflict or failure to achieve a quorum.

(j) The hearing will be structured as follows:

i. Chair: Declaration of charge and punishment.

ii. Chair: Statement of agreed-upon facts of the case.

iii. Administration: Opening statement.

iv. Appellant: Opening statement.

v. Witnesses: Testimony for the administration.

vi. Questioning of witnesses by the appellant.

vii. Testimony of witnesses for the appellant.

viii. Questioning of witnesses by the administration.

ix. Judiciary Committee: Questioning of the witnesses, the administration, and the appellant.

x. Administration: Closing statement.

xi. Appellant: Closing statement.

6. Rules of Operation: Deliberations

(a) The Committee’s decision will be rendered in writing to the administration and appellant within 24 hours, or in a case involving suspension, immediately following the decision. The decision must be unanimous.

(b) All deliberations of the Committee are confidential and must remain within the Committee.

(c) The Council Executive will serve as record-keeper of the committee’s proceedings. Records of only the testimony will be kept for the remainder of the school year. There will be no records kept of the deliberations other than the question(s) voted on.

(d) Items for discussion:

i. Policy (handbook, School Board, state rule, national law)

ii. How the violated policy is seen by the:

- Administration

- Appellant

- Student Body

- Community

iii. Evidence:

- Is the evidence hearsay?

- Has the evidence been substantiated beyond a reasonable doubt?

- What is the intent of the violated policy?

iv. New Policy

- Will the new rule apply to everyone?

- Does it make sense?

v. Due Process

- Has due process been followed?

- Was the student assumed innocent until proven guilty?

- Are rights involved? Or are they privileges, or traditions?

- How has the process traditionally been applied?

vi. Notes and Impact

- Can the Judiciary Committee justify its verdict to an outsider?

- Will the decision strengthen or weaken the credibility of the Judiciary Committee in the eyes of the school community?

- Is the general school perception of the rule uniform and accurate?

- How has the appellant’s behavior in this matter reflected on the school?

- If the rule needs to be changed, how will that be done and how and when will the school community be notified?

(e) The chair will be responsible for discussing all of the above aspects with the committee before a vote is taken.

(f) The unanimous decision of the Judiciary Committee will be final and binding.

(g) If the Judiciary Committee decides that the student is innocent, or recommends a new punishment to the administration, the committee will meet in conditions of confidentiality with the administrator(s) who made the decision to explain the reason(s) for the committee’s decision.

7. General

(a) Individual Judiciary Committee members can exercise the power and function of their office only in session; otherwise, they can speak and act only as individuals.

(b) While every effort will be made to avoid conflicts with classes, students who serve on the Judiciary Committee will be allowed, within reason, to be excused from classes in order to attend committee meetings. These students will be responsible for notifying teachers and making up any missed work.

(c) In cases of suspension due to administrative action, the appellant will not begin their suspension until the final decision of the Judiciary Committee. In the meantime, the appellant will be scheduled up so as to be accessible to the committee. If the administration deems scheduling up unwise, the administration and the Judiciary Committee chair will meet to determine an alternative arrangement. If the hearing is delayed overnight, the student is not eligible to participate in any school activities that night.

(d) The Executive Committee of the Council will serve to evaluate the work of the Judiciary Committee at least once each year and report its finding to the Council.

(e) The Judiciary Committee will meet before October 1st to elect a chair and discuss operations of the committee.