Last Updated on July 27, 2022 by Michelle Ball
By Michelle Ball, Sacramento California Expulsion, Special Education, sports/CIF, College, Education and School Attorney/Lawyer for Students since 1995
Expulsions from school unfortunately occur more often to students than one might think. Parents who believe life is going along smoothly with their children, may find themselves on the end of a phone call with a Vice Principal telling them to come pick up a student who is getting sent home on suspension. Upon arrival and discussing the situation, they may also be told the student is up for expulsion.
Is there any hope for resolution before the dreaded expulsion hearing? Yes!
Often Parents Don’t Advocate Until the School Expulsion Hearing
Usually, parents with of a student for expulsion wait for the school expulsion hearing to take place to plead the student’s case. This is based on a mistaken belief that the expulsion hearing panel and/or hearing officer will believe them and have mercy.
Unfortunately, the expulsion panel usually takes a limited view of their punishment options and may feel they have no choice but to expel a student irregardless of a parent’s plea and even on the slimmest of evidence.
Options Other Than Going to an Expulsion Hearing
Most parents do not know there are other options than proceeding to a student’s expulsion hearing, such as negotiating the school discipline outside the expulsion hearing process via “stipulated agreement,” (aka “stipulated expulsion”- basically a written expulsion agreement).
These expulsion agreements may be offered by a district to a parent without the parent asking, but often, if an expulsion contract is offered with no parent request, they are poor offers for the child.
How to Counter a Terrible Expulsion Resolution Offer or Get One in the First Place
If a stipulated expulsion is offered for a student and the parent thinks it is too harsh, and/or if no expulsion resolution offer is forthcoming, a parent can step-up and try to better the situation.
A parent might do this by:
1) Obtaining all evidence in the matter plus all student records, and
2) Reviewing all, and
3) Writing a letter explaining who the student is and a factual summary (written honestly, but favorably for the child), and
4) Including in the letter a request for a negotiated expulsion resolution pre-hearing, with a specific recommendation of alternative punishment which should be tried instead of school expulsion.
Such a letter could move the matter toward a resolution which may be more tailored to what the family wants.
What Expulsion Alternatives Can Be Requested
Some possible alternatives to “full” expulsion could be:
a) A behavior contract with the student returning to the same school, or
b) An involuntary student transfer to another regular (aka comprehensive) school in the district, or
c) A suspended (probationary) expulsion with expungement and minimal terms for the student, or
d) Some other creative alternative (the sky is the limit).
Parents can send their request to the person in charge of the expulsion process as a first step and if that fails, can try to address the Superintendent as well (not always possible).
The bottom line is as our someone said, “It can’t hurt to ask,” which is as true as ever in expulsion matters. And, even if a parent fails in their quest, they can still go to the student’s expulsion hearing.
Do Parents Need an Attorney to Negotiate?
In my experience, often schools don’t take parents seriously without an attorney in front of them.
However, yes, parents can try on their own to better the student’s school discipline situation. You never know what positive results might occur for the student and their expulsion outcome with a little strategic advocacy.
Student expulsion defense lawyer Michelle Ball can help resolve and fight student suspensions, expulsion and unfair discipline throughout California. Located in Sacramento she can reach statewide to Modesto, Tahoe, Foresthill, Woodland, Natomas, the Bay Area, Los Angeles, Roseville, Elk Grove, and all other California cities.
Education Attorney for Students
LAW OFFICE OF MICHELLE BALL
717 K Street, Suite 228
Sacramento, CA 95814
Please see my disclaimer. This is legal information, not legal advice and no attorney-client relationship is formed by this posting. This blog may not be reproduced without permission from the author and proper attribution of authorship. This blog may not reflect the current state of the law.