Last Updated on July 28, 2022 by Michelle Ball
By Michelle Ball, Sacramento California Expulsion, Special Education, sports/CIF, College, Education and School Attorney/Lawyer for Students since 1995
Do parents facing school expulsion really need a specialized education attorney to help their child? Is a student important enough to hire a student-focused lawyer? Are the school and life consequences severe for expelled students? Yes, yes and yes!
Expulsion Lawyers Help Parents Navigate
The school expulsion process is quite tricky and has a lot of moving parts. Parents can become quickly overwhelmed trying to learn what to do, learning expulsion evidence rules, how to get documents, how to defend the student, how to get an education while the expulsion is pending, and who to believe.
Parents are usually not experienced in dealing with school expulsion, while school personnel running expulsion proceedings expel students weekly as their profession. School staff are very familiar with expulsion rules and requirements and know how to win against inexperienced parents.
Parents are also not objective due to their strong involvement in the situation and love for their children. This lack of objectivity plus unfamiliarity with the school expulsion process can be a student’s doom. Inexperience is a distinct disadvantage.
Students and families need quality legal guidance to navigate the school expulsion process, so it resolves in the student’s best interests.
School Expulsion Negatively Impacts Students
Expulsions are serious matters and result in a permanent mark on the student’s record. The black mark of expulsion may come up later in life, such as when the student applies to college, when applying for professional degrees (such as applying to become an attorney), or even when attempting to get certain jobs.
Unless otherwise agreed (e.g. in the expulsion paperwork), once expelled, a student cannot return to their school or school district for a set period of time and may have to attend school in a less savory environment, such as a continuation school.
And, if an expelled student does not meet the “rehabilitation plan” terms outlined in the expulsion document, they may never return to that district.
Schools Don’t See Reason
Parents also must not presume a school district will “see reason” if they just hear the student’s explanations or that they will ensure student and parents rights are met. As an attorney focusing only on education law for students, I have too many times heard from parents AFTER an expulsion hearing that they “trusted” the school district to “do the right thing.”
Sadly, the school did not, and the student was expelled.
Appeals May Not Work After the Expulsion
Expulsion appeals can reverse an expulsion for many students. However, most students just don’t have arguments than can result in a reversal on appeal so appeal cannot be counted on to save the day.
This is because expulsion appeal arguments are limited to certain categories that are usually procedural. If a school handled the discipline procedure properly, there may be no appeal arguments available. As such, an expulsion appeal should not be relied on as an easy out.
Expulsions Are Rigged
The difficulties with fighting a student expulsion are not surprising. Is it fair that a parent must plead their child’s case in front of a panel of individuals paid by the district as employees (who are often disciplinarians)? No.
I would not bet my child’s future on the mercy of a panel so stacked against the student. For this reason, and many others, school expulsion hearings are definitely not “fair” and parents need all the legal leverage they can get.
Education Attorneys Provide Leverage, Attention, and Strategies
An education attorney can provide a student leverage, attention, and a strategy to resolve the expulsion even before it is issued. Often, the only leverage for students facing expulsion matters is a specialized student lawyer.
I received the following from a happy client who could not get anywhere in an expulsion matter before an expulsion hearing panel, and even the school board, until I became involved:
“My son was expelled from the Elk Grove Unified School District for one semester. Elk Grove High recommended two semesters expulsion. I recommended dismissal based on lack of evidence and parent notification violations. I lost the case. The Expulsion Panel recommended one semester expulsion. I quickly appealed the case to the Elk Grove Board of Education. I was also allowed to appeal the two home suspensions to the school principal. During this time I hired Education Attorney Michelle Ball for legal advice. What I liked about Michelle is that I could pay for half hour and one hour sessions, which made it affordable. I would have my questions ready and she would provide legal answers and information on the education codes. She was a wealth of knowledge.”- RC
It is not wise to enter the school expulsion gauntlet without a specialized student lawyer.
Student lawyer Michelle Ball has helped families with pending expulsions, expulsion hearings and appeals for decades. As an expulsion defense attorney in Sacramento, California, she can assist statewide, including in Roseville, Auburn, Vacaville, Galt, Modesto, Lodi, Yuba City, Chico, Fairfield, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Fresno, and many other locales.
[These testimonials or endorsements do not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of a legal matter. This post may be seen as a solicitation or advertisement for services]