Last Updated on April 7, 2021 by Michelle Ball
By Michelle Ball, California Education Attorney for Students since 1995
School expulsion is traumatizing and awful. Once the worst happens and an expulsion is imposed, do students just get automatic reentry into their local school when the time period is over? How do they return? Are there steps? The terms of the student’s expulsion determine what will happen and precisely what the student must do to reenter their local school campus.
Expulsion Process Ends After Agreement Signed or Board Decision
Students are expelled by their board of education. Board decisions come after a school expulsion hearing or after the Board approves an agreement signed by the student’s parents. A signed agreement is usually called a “stipulated (agreed) expulsion.”
When Does A Student Return To A Regular School?
After expulsion, when a student returns to a comprehensive (regular) school environment will depend on the terms of the student’s school expulsion and the student’s compliance with the expulsion agreement’s terms.
Expulsion Rehabilitation Plan Terms Must Be Met
When a school board imposes a school expulsion, usually there are terms that a student must meet, which are outlined in a “Rehabilitation Plan.” This student rehabilitation plan contains prerequisites the student must complete before the expulsion will end and the student may be returned to regular school.
Education Code section 48916, discusses rehabilitation plans for students being expelled:
(b) The governing board shall recommend a plan of rehabilitation for the pupil at the time of the expulsion order, which may include, but not be limited to, periodic review as well as assessment at the time of review for readmission. The plan may also include recommendations for improved academic performance, tutoring, special education assessments, job training, counseling, employment, community service, or other rehabilitative programs.
Readmission To School
Section 48916 continues, discussing how a student will be readmitted and when it is mandatory for the student to be allowed back into the district:
(c) The governing board of each school district shall adopt rules and regulations establishing a procedure for the filing and processing of requests for readmission and the process for the required review of all expelled pupils for readmission. Upon completion of the readmission process, the governing board shall readmit the pupil, unless the governing board makes a finding that the pupil has not met the conditions of the rehabilitation plan or continues to pose a danger to campus safety or to other pupils or employees of the school district. A description of the procedure shall be made available to the pupil and the pupil’s parent or guardian at the time the expulsion order is entered.
A previously expelled student MUST be readmitted to the school district if their rehabilitation plan terms are met and the student is no longer a danger to the campus, pupils or employees.
Typical Terms for Student Rehabilitation Plans
Typical terms seen in student expulsion agreements include the following:
1) Maintain passing grades or maintain above a 2.0 or other gpa (grade point average)
2) Attend school regularly, or maintain 95% (or other %) attendance
3) Therapy for some number of hours or until a certain program is completed. Parents may be able to get approval for religious/pastoral counseling to meet this requirement.
4) No breach of school rules or federal, state, or local laws
5) No additional suspensions/expulsions (broad or limited scope)
6) Community service for a certain number of hours at an approved nonprofit
7) Stay off all district properties, not coming within a certain distance
Additional Terms In Certain Situations
Sometimes, schools include other terms, depending on the offense, such as:
8) Drug test results must be negative
9) Student must do essay or some type of project
10) Letter from professional stating student is not a danger and/or should be readmitted.
11) Other terms as varied as the school districts
Petitioning for Readmission After School Expulsion
When the student’s expulsion time period is nearing the end (date should be in the agreement), the student may petition for readmission. The district will require submission of actual evidence the terms in the expulsion order were met, and will make their own determination whether the student poses a danger should the student return to campus.
If readmitted, unless the expulsion agreement names the school the student can return to, the school will usually be determined at the readmission meeting. Sometimes expulsion agreements, particularly for drug sales or high level offenses, state that the student will never return to the prior school.
Proof of Meeting Rehabilitation Plan Terms Is Important
Because proof will need to be submitted to get a student back into his district after an expulsion, it is important that parents develop and maintain the records showing the student met the terms. For example, a student needing to participate in a counseling program cannot just start gathering proof of this the week before the readmission review meeting. Rather, parents need to document what the student does during the expulsion period, perhaps for months, until all rehabilitation plan terms are complete.
Expulsion May Continue If Terms Not Met
If a student does not meet the terms of the expulsion, the consequence is that the expulsion continues. This can mean a one semester expulsion can continue for many years, simply as the rehabilitation requirements were not met. As such, parents need to pay attention to the expulsion order and all requirements and ensure they are not neglected. Otherwise, the student may never return and can end up with a multi-year expulsion in their student records.
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.