Last Updated on August 10, 2023 by Michelle Ball
By Michelle Ball, Sacramento California Expulsion, Special Education, sports/CIF, College, Education and School Attorney/Lawyer for Students since 1995
Suspensions can be problematic for students at any school, including private schools. They push a student home, may result in missed schoolwork, lowered grades, and create a permanent negative mark in a student’s record which may impact college enrollment.
Can a private school student appeal a suspension? Can parents get the suspension removed (aka expunged) from a student’s education records? It depends on the private school.
Suspension Removals Depend on Private School Policies
In public schools, there is no legal right to appeal a suspension. In private schools, similarly, there is no legal obligation to have an appeal process, or to remove, alter, expunge, or otherwise change a student suspension.
However, a private school may still have a process to challenge a suspension. This process may be informal or formal.
A formal policy may be found in the private school’s policies. These may be found in the student handbook or on the school website.
If a private school has a policy allowing for suspension challenges, parents should follow it. All outlined timelines should be met and evidence to challenge the student suspension should be submitted.
No Suspension Appeal Policy? Appeal Anyway with Higher Ups
If there is no formal policy in the private school allowing a suspension appeal, parents can make their own informal appeal process. This is done via contacting the person who issued the suspension to try to get them to change their minds. If that fails, parents can then move up the chain of command, to people like the Principal, Dean, or Head of the private school. Eventually they may arrive at the private school board (if they have one) to try to seek justice.
Facts showing the alleged offense did not happen, was not as bad as portrayed, the punishment was excessive, and other arguments can be made.
Parent Communication to Private School MUST Be Professional
Any approach made to private school staff on a suspension must be professional, courteous, and respectful.
Private school staff often have a lot of power over students, their punishment and their continued enrollment. Most private school contracts contain provisions that students can be expelled if their parents are disruptive. This can be a shock to many families.
As such, private school staff should be approached with caution and composure, not overemotional pleas. Parent professionalism and manners are key when dealing with private school administrators.
If a Suspension Cannot Be Removed Now, Maybe It Can Be Later?
If a private school will not agree to remove a student suspension now, parents can try to negotiate a future removal, if certain conditions continue to exist.
For example, parents can work with the private school staff to get them to agree that in 1 year, the suspension will be removed. Or, perhaps the school will agree if a student will do certain things, like write an essay and attend a certain class, the suspension could be then be removed
Anything may be possible, even a suspension expungement, with good negotiation skills and a reasonable proposal to the private school.
Private school student lawyer Michelle Ball helps students of all ages throughout California with suspensions, expulsions, and other school problems. As a student attorney in Sacramento, Michelle can assist throughout California, in places such as Redding, Los Angeles, Santa Rosa, Mission Viejo, Roseville, Vacaville, and many other locations.