Last Updated on December 8, 2023 by Michelle Ball
By Michelle Ball, Sacramento California Expulsion, Special Education, sports/CIF, College, Education and School Attorney/Lawyer for Students since 1995
California charter schools are unique. Some laws that apply in typical public schools don’t apply to charter schools. One example includes the California laws on student expulsions.
Charter schools have different minimum standards to expel a student, which parents of charter school students should be aware of.
Charter School Mandates Per CA Law
Under California state law, the minimums required for any charter school to expel a student are outlined in statute.
Per Education Code section 47605 (c)(5)(J)(ii) charters must provide these minimums to students, prior to expelling them:
(I) … timely, written notice of the charges against the pupil and an explanation of the pupil’s basic rights.
(II)… a hearing adjudicated by a neutral officer within a reasonable number of days at which the pupil has a fair opportunity to present testimony, evidence, and witnesses and confront and cross-examine adverse witnesses, and at which the pupil has the right to bring legal counsel or an advocate.
Notice of the school’s intent to remove the student must also be provided at least 5 school days before expulsion. And, a student expulsion cannot occur until a final decision is issued by the hearing officer.
That’s it. These rules are very vague, and can lead to quick expulsions of students.
Things Are Different if a Charter School Adopts Stricter Expulsion Rules
Okay, it sounds bleak. However, in many charter schools there may be additional requirements. When? When the charter school adopts stricter requirements, or decides to adopt the state expulsion laws applicable to regular public schools. Fortunately, this happens frequently.
If a charter school adopts the typical public school rules related to expulsions, they bind themselves to following these more stringent requirements and providing better student protections.
This is much better for charter students, as California laws include mandates that protect students a little bit more than the basic charter school expulsion requirements.
For example, state law includes a requirement that notice of an expulsion hearing be sent out 10 days in advance of an expulsion hearing, contains many student evidentiary rights, and includes other protections for students facing expulsion.
Special Education Students Entitled to Manifestation Meeting First
Prior to a charter school expulsion, special education students are still entitled to a manifestation IEP (Individual educational Program) meeting or a manifestation 504 meeting, to ensure that the student’s conduct is not directly related to their disability. The team should also review if the conduct was a result of IEP or 504 services not being provided.
If the answer to the manifestation question is “yes,” the student cannot be expelled.
Can a Student Attend Their School of Residence After Expulsion From a Charter?
A student may be able to attend their school of residence even after being expelled from a charter school, but it is not entirely certain.
This is because a student’s school of residence may (or may not) choose to treat the charter school expulsion as an expulsion applicable to their school district.
If they can’t attend their local school, an expelled charter student might still be able to attend a different charter school.
Michelle Ball is a Sacramento California student attorney who has been helping with expulsions since the mid 1990s. As a lawyer representing students for decades, she has a lot of experience throughout the state, and may help in Stanislaus, Placer, Sacramento, Santa Clara, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and many other counties.