Last Updated on April 4, 2022 by Michelle Ball
By Michelle Ball, Sacramento California Expulsion, Special Education, sports/CIF, College, Education and School Attorney/Lawyer for Students since 1995
Schools can be really intolerant and dismissive to parents and students in the student expulsion process. What happens if a school district denies parent and student rights blatantly, or not so blatantly?
An Uncommon Example
Parents are often pushed aside in the expulsion process. One terrible (and uncommon) example is the following:
A family was told their son was being expelled, and they tried to attend the hearing. They were not allowed in.
They were thus not allowed to present evidence, testimony, or a defense for the student. Rather, they had to sit outside and wait for the hearing to be done, in shocked silence.
Then, the superintendent remained with the expulsion panel while they deliberated, while the family was not allowed into the deliberations.
When they tried to appeal, the same people on the expulsion panel were on the appeal panel.
A More Common Example
Even though the above is true, but uncommon, here is a more common scenario:
A family attends a student expulsion hearing. They receive the expulsion packet at the hearing, not before, despite request.
The family makes an opening statement for the student but are repeatedly cut off.
The family is not allowed to question the school’s expulsion case or witnesses, or is interrupted repeatedly in their questioning.
The parents are not allowed to bring in outside witnesses or are limited to one person.
The expulsion panel is impatient and degrading to the student and family and seem to have no tolerance for the student’s defense.
The expulsion panel seems like they have their mind made up already that the student will be expelled.
The Right to Attend the Expulsion Hearing
There were so many breaches in the above scenarios. Student rights in expulsion hearings are outlined in the California Education Code which should be read and understood by parents.
At a very minimum, the student and his family must be allowed to attend the expulsion hearing. Keeping any family out of an expulsion hearing will make the expulsion invalid, but only if it is appealed and overturned.
The Right to Present the Expulsion Case
Additionally, parents have the legal right to present the student’s case, to cross examine evidence, and to bring in witnesses. The family and student up for expulsion should not be repeatedly interrupted and should be given the same courtesy that the school is, in their case presentation. Expulsion is no small matter, and student hearings have to be FAIR.
An expulsion panel which already has its mind made up or has no patience for the parent case, is not being fair.
Records of expulsion hearings must be kept, and these can be used on appeal, if the student received an unfair or somehow legally deficient expulsion hearing.
How to Prevent Expulsion Rights Violations
Parents need to become familiar with all their legal rights in school expulsions by reading the relevant Education Code sections and the school district policies. They need to assert those rights if they are denied.
If the school gives an unfair expulsion hearing or tramples on parent or student rights, an appeal may be necessary.
Student expulsion attorney Michelle Ball helps with suspension and school discipline matters. As a California lawyer, she can help across the state, in places such as Sonora, Huntington Beach, Elk Grove, Roseville, Los Angeles, San Francisco and many other places.