Due Process

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The concept of “due process,” as enshrined in the 5th and 14th Amendments to our Constitution, requires that government and its agencies (including schools) adopt procedures designed to promote integrity, justice, and fairness. It stems from recognition that each of us is subject to various biases, misinterpretations of facts, cognitive errors, etc., and government can thus wrongly deprive someone of what they are entitled to. If the process itself is not fair, then the outcome surely will not be either. The principle of due process seeks to minimize the prospect of error by providing the endangered party an opportunity to demonstrate that an error is being made.

justice for ozark mo schools

It requires such things as:

1. Character and conduct of the investigator – That the adjudicating authority be independent and impartial. (Judges, for example, are required to recuse themselves from a case when they have a potential bias due to a relationship with something in the case – i.e., a “conflict of interest”.)

2. Integrity of investigatory procedures – That fair procedures be established for investigating, judging, and prosecuting those facing discipline or loss of benefits.

3. Character of evidence – That accusatory evidence be generated in good faith and that there be compelling grounds for believing it to be true. Any suspect or tainted evidence should be excluded from consideration.

4. Opportunity to know and challenge evidence – That the accused be afforded opportunity to examine evidence (at an absolute minimum, to at least know what the charges are BEFORE being judged), organize a response to allegations, cross-examine accusers/accusations, and present exonerating evidence, including witnesses.

5. Character of the laws themselves – Rules, requirements, restrictions, etc. all have to be unambiguous and applied consistently. Consequences for violating them also have to be applied consistently and proportionately to the significance of the alleged offense.

The Ozark School District blatantly disregards the requirement for due process.  They act as if due process is something that is owed an employee only if the District fires him/her.  They ignore the fact that the very reason due process is required is to AVOID employees’ being terminated unjustly in the first place.  District administrators make every effort to push employees out instead, presuming that they owe no due process to those who resign “voluntarily.”  Teachers who resign “voluntarily” do so under the assurance that if they allow Ozark to fire them, they will thereafter be unemployable anywhere again as a teacher.  This is enough to insulate the District against the legal scrutiny the District would suffer if they fired the employee.  Hence they use every tool of coercion, harassment, intimidation, abuse, and subterfuge to ensure that employees leave on their own.

For a representative case study of how the Ozark School District flagrantly disregards this Constitutional requirement, see the in-depth review of one instructor's harrowing experience at https://www.ozarkteacherabuse.org/denial-of-due-process/.

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