Last Updated on September 17, 2021 by Michelle Ball
By Michelle Ball, Sacramento California Expulsion, Special Education, sports/CIF, College, Education and School Attorney/Lawyer for Students since 1995
Your kid was expelled from their school, whether elementary, middle or high school. The deed is done. What can parents do for this student who is now adrift, out of their school district on expulsion?
Take a Moment to Grieve If Needed
Losing the ability to attend your neighborhood school and school district is a loss for the student and their family. If parents or students need to, it is okay to take a moment to grieve the situation and the loss. It is a sad day when a Board of Education rules against a child and decides to expel a student from school, whatever the length of time, and whatever the student’s circumstances.
It feels degrading to the student and to the family. This is particularly sharp when the student honestly did not commit the crime. or a group of students ganged up on the student and lied, or the student was punished far more harshly than they deserved.
When schools expel, it sucks. So it is okay to take a short time (while being mindful of appeal timelines) to address the loss so the student and family can then bulk up and move forward.
Read the Expulsion Order
Now that the grieving is over the expulsion order can be reviewed. What does it say? What does it REALLY say, not what a parent thinks it says or hopes it says or someone says it says. What does the school expulsion document actually say are the terms for the student’s expulsion?
Write them out. Confront the terms.
How long does the expulsion go?
When is the readmission date the student could try to return to the school district?
What are ALL the terms of the “Rehabilitation Plan” that have to be met for the student to actually BE readmitted? Sometimes these terms have to be documented and worked on from day one of the school expulsion.
Find The Student a School
The expulsion order will have a school listed in it which the expelled student may now attend. If that school is acceptable, the student can be enrolled and should be ASAP.
However, if parents don’t like the school, because it is a “bad” school or a continuation school, actions must be taken to promptly get the expelled student enrolled somewhere else. Many school districts, depending on the allegations and their policies won’t let expelled students in. It could still be worth a shot to contact neighboring districts if parents are willing to drive their kid there.
Another option are charter schools, particularly online charter schools, which may take expelled students.
A parent may also become their own private school and home school their child.
Typical private schools are also options.
Parents have to be up front about the expulsion when applying to any school.
Students will be “truant” if after the expulsion they are between ages 6-18 and don’t attend a school more than 3 days in a row, so picking a school should come quick.
Review Likelihood of Success of An Expulsion Appeal
Is there a basis for an appeal and reversal of the student’s school expulsion? Maybe. It depends. If there may be, the timelines for filing are super quick so an appeal should be pursued for the student right away.
Get Through It
Once a new school is selected, or if a student has to attend the “bad” school they were put in after the expulsion, everyone needs to make the best of it. To later be readmitted back to the school district they were expelled from, the student likely will have to meet all rules at the new school and have decent grades and attendance, so it is important the student apply themselves, even in these tough circumstances.
Prepare for Reenrollment in School After Expulsion
Ensure that all the evidence of meeting the expulsion “rehabilitation plan” is being gathered and all things required are being done. If there is no proof of a student doing the required community service, or obtaining the mandated therapy outlined in the expulsion order, the student will not be readmitted later after the expulsion time period.
Neglect of this proof could cause the expulsion to go on even longer while a parent gathers proof of meeting the expulsion readmission terms.
Help the Student Learn What Went Wrong
Whatever led to the expulsion, the student needs to learn how not to make the same mistakes again. Parents need to counsel the student on the issues that led to the exclusion, as when the student returns to school, they may be under heightened scrutiny from school officials.
Move Forward- Its Not the End of Everything
Expulsion is not the end of the world. A crack in the Earth won’t open up and doom the student to a future of suffering and anguish. If a student has been expelled and an appeal won’t or did not work, the future is still ahead.
Encourage the student to learn from the situation, and turn it into an advantage. For, maybe the student could use the expulsion as a “turn around story” for their college applications, rather than letting it ruin their goals. Life is not over and school is not always everything. The student’s health, success, safety, happiness and future are of primary importance.
It would be a tragedy if one bad thing they did when a minor student made them feel their whole future was over. It is not. It is still just beginning!
Michelle Ball is a student lawyer assisting with expulsions, expulsion appeals, suspension and school discipline defense. As an attorney focused solely on students, she practices school and education law throughout California from her office in Sacramento, and can reach statewide from San Diego and Los Angeles to the bay area, San Francisco, Oakland, to Roseville, Elk Grove, Fort Bragg and beyond.