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
Expulsion from school can be devastating for students. The expelled child may not be able to return to a regular school, is denied access to district or school activities, and are unsure how they will be educated during the term of the expulsion. Many parents believe that once expelled, their child will be stuck at home twiddling their thumbs. Not necessarily so.
Per California Education Code §48916.1, students who are expelled, although not entitled to attend their “typical” or “regular” school, remain entitled to an education:
“At the time an expulsion…is ordered, the governing board of the school district shall ensure that an educational program is provided to the pupil who is subject to the expulsion order for the period of the expulsion.”
The program to be provided, however, cannot be located at the school where the student previously attended and may not even be located in the student’s home district. Rather, the program can be run by the district from which the student was expelled, the county department of education, or a “consortium” of districts.
The typical placement when a student is fully expelled is a continuation school, which many families find less than desirable. If a student receives a form of “lesser” expulsion, such as a “suspended expulsion” (expulsion imposed but “suspended” similar to a probation) other options may be available, such as independent study, attendance at another regular site in the district, and sometimes the school where the student was attending. Most students who receive a full expulsion are shuffled to a continuation school unless another agreement is struck, usually prior to the expulsion hearing.
The likeliest time to negotiate a positive placement is BEFORE the expulsion hearing. Many parents do not realize this and think that the panel or board of education will understand them and their student’s plight. Many end up at my office after the expulsion hearing has already occurred, when less options for resolution exist.
In most cases, the placement imposed during expulsion (e.g. continuation school) is not a mandatory placement, and a parent can put a student in a charter or home school program (if they gain admission). Parents can also petition other school districts for entrance, but it can take a lot of shopping around to gain admission and chances of entry during expulsion may be slim.
Regardless, even though unsavory, a student is still entitled to an education if expelled, just not in the traditional environment.
Working as a student expulsion and suspension defense and student rights lawyer, Michelle Ball, education attorney reaches from Sacramento California across the state, to help parents in San Francisco, Elk Grove, Los Angeles, Stockton, Roseville, Auburn, Yuba City, and beyond.