Last Updated on July 26, 2022 by Michelle Ball
By Michelle Ball, Sacramento California Expulsion, Special Education, sports/CIF, College, Education and School Attorney/Lawyer for Students since 1995
Many times when a public school student faces expulsion, there is confusion about what this means and how long a school expulsion may continue. Some questions and answers relevant to the length of expulsions in the public school setting, (high school or below) can be helpful to parents.
Is expulsion permanent?
No. There is always a listed end date in the student’s expulsion order.
How long can a Board of Education expel a student for?
Depending on the offense(s), a student may receive a 1 semester, 2 semester, or 1 calendar year expulsion. In most situations, the maximum is 2 semesters.
However, if the student committed a “Big 5” offense the max is full calendar year. Big 5 offenses are laid out in the Education Code, and include selling drugs, firearm issues, sexual assault or battery, brandishing a knife and explosives (Cal Ed Code 48915(c).
When can a student return to school after they are expelled?
The student will have to complete their expulsion term before they can return to school. Whether they can return then, will also depend on whether the expelled student completed their expulsion rehabilitation plan, or not.
How long can a public school expulsion continue?
Factually, an expulsion can go on indefinitely if a student does not complete their expulsion rehabilitation plan.
Can a public school expulsion continue beyond the expulsion time period listed in the expulsion decision?
Yes. Although the initial expulsion can only go a maximum 1 year for the very worst offenses, like drug sales, if a student does not meet their required readmission terms (such as counseling, keeping grades up, school attendance, drug testing, etc.) the student may not be readmitted and their exclusion may continue.
Can a Student Get “Time Served” for Time they Were Out Pending the Expulsion Hearing?
Sometimes school districts may allow “time served” (schools don’t call it this) if a new semester started while the expulsion was pending (but not always). What I mean by “time served” is that a school district starts the expulsion term prior to the semester when their expulsion hearing was held. This is great if the expellable act happened in one semester but the expulsion decision did not get finalized until the next one.
What is the minimum term of expulsion if a student is found guilty?
One semester is the minimum expulsion term, if the student is expelled.
Does the board of education have to expel a student?
Per California law, no expulsion has to issue unless it is a proven “Big 5 Offense.” Otherwise, the school board has discretion to offer alternative punishments for the student as the circumstances warrant.
Michelle Ball is an experienced student expulsion attorney who assists with expulsion resolutions, hearings and appeals. She works as a student lawyer across California from Sacramento, to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Tahoe, Clovis, Morro Bay, Chico, and wherever students may be in trouble.
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