Last Updated on October 17, 2023 by Michelle Ball
By Michelle Ball, Sacramento California Expulsion, Special Education, sports/CIF, College, Education and School Attorney/Lawyer for Students since 1995
I have seen many desperate parents over the years, facing a student’s suspension or expulsion and wanting to avoid it. The question arose, how far are parents willing to go to avoid a school expulsion? How far would you go?
Moving Out of State To Avoid Expulsion?
What if a family is in the process of moving when a student is placed up for expulsion, or the expulsion is for something that happened prior to a family leaving the state?
There could be some leverage or advantages which may occur as a result of a student moving out of state or far far away when dealing with expulsion negotiations. However, this would be quite a huge thing to do to avoid discipline and most parents would never be willing to do this, unless it was already in process (e.g. they were already moving…).
First, let’s be clear, moving does not end or stop any expulsion. However, it is possible it could still provide an advantage.
If a family is literally not coming back to a school district, and has a student already enrolled in an out of state school, there could be an argument that the former school district (the one expelling the student) should drop the school expulsion (with a promise not to return) or should negotiate a simple (better) outcome.
In that case, parents may want to explore if an agreement could be negotiated simply validating the student will not return for a certain time period. This could be an agreement outside the typical expulsion process, not called an “expulsion” and hopefully not reflected in a student’s educational records.
But, would you go that far to avoid expulsion? Probably most people would not.
Graduating Early To Avoid Expulsion?
A student facing expulsion who is close to graduating high school, or who COULD graduate at the time of the expulsion (for example, the student had enough credits to meet all graduation requirements), may have an advantage if up for expulsion, as the student can leave without having to be expelled at all, if agreed. Leaving or graduation are not enough to avoid expulsion, but could be if the school district will agree to it.
In this scenario, the student would get a regular diploma but would miss all senior activities, such as the senior ball, senior trip, senior picnic, and maybe even walking at graduation. But maybe it would not matter as the student would have an unmarred education record when entering college.
Would you be willing to have a student lose the last half of their senior year, including graduation, senior ball, senior trip, etc. to avoid the risk of expulsion? Maybe. Schools can still expel students even after they graduate, but with a negotiated agreement, that risk would be over.
If a student is going into their final semester with an expulsion hearing looming, this is already a risky position as the student could end up in continuation school if expelled. If expelled, the student would then get their diploma from that continuation school. This is not something a lot of parents want for their child.
Putting A Student in a Military School To Avoid Expulsion?
There are some districts which actually have military schools in them as part of the school district. Or, what about a military school out of state for a semester at the parent’s expense? Would you do it to get a school to drop a student’s expulsion for fighting, or sexual harassment, bullying or something else? I would say it would have to be a pretty heavy allegation to make this sort of agreement, but some parents are desperate.
Any big move like this, if taken by a parent, should probably be run through a school district where expulsion is pending first, to see if it would even matter to the expulsion process.
Requesting Special Education Qualification to Try to Avoid a Student Expulsion?
If a student is not already qualified for special education, but may qualify, parents can try to raise this as an issue during expulsion. However, whether this will impact the expulsion proceeding or not will depend on many factors.
This is not necessarily a recommended strategy but if the student’s behavior and history really show he or she should have been in special education and the school slept on their obligations, this could help. And, if a student qualifies, depending, it is possible that the expulsion could be resolved via special education supports or be more easily negotiated.
Transferring to Independent Study to Avoid Expulsion?
This scenario happens frequently and may not really be so wild. Parents are often willing to have a student leave their regular school and go on independent study the remainder of the school year if it means no expulsion.
The only drawback is, if this happens prior to graduation, the student may graduate from the independent study school unless negotiated.
What would you do if a student in your family was facing school expulsion? If an unusual option is not feasible, the only option is to try to obtain a good outcome via skilled negotiations. Otherwise, it may be too late to avoid terrible punishment by the time the hearing occurs.
Lawyer Michelle Ball helps negotiate student expulsions, attends expulsion hearings and expulsion appeals. Being in Sacramento, attorney Michelle Ball can assist in all locations in California, including Roseville, Sacramento, Loomis, Stockton, Placerville, Pleasant Hill, Ripon, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Folsom and many other locations.