Last Updated on July 27, 2022 by Michelle Ball
By Michelle Ball, Sacramento California Expulsion, Special Education, sports/CIF, College, Education and School Attorney/Lawyer for Students since 1995
One parent told me that their school district provided them with a document for a “stipulated” suspended expulsion (consent to the expulsion in writing) and told the parent to sign by Friday or FACE A HEARING! The parent had a picture painted of doom and gloom if they DID NOT sign the student document. Yet, the document bound the student to be expelled for the maximum time possible.
To add to the trauma, the school official had exaggerated the student’s expulsion potential and lied to the parent that the student could be expelled for 1 calendar year, when the law actually limited the maximum expulsion time period to two semesters. This parent was being told she would be getting a break if she signed the document immediately and that this “break” would disappear by X day at X hour. The truth is, nothing would have been gained by signing the document, which issued the maximum possible punishment and took away the parents rights to be heard (at an expulsion hearing) and during an expulsion appeal.
Another parent came to me after a school district had pressured the family to sign a waiver of the student’s time limits. California districts must send notifications of an expulsion hearing out ten days in advance. This district convinced the parent to sign a waiver of this timeline to have his hearing in a few days. They also implied that the student would be out of school a shorter period of time if the hearing proceeded quickly.
If the school district wanted the student back in school, they would have put them there. The only reason to push back the expulsion hearing would be to rush a parent through the expulsion process and get the student OUT of the district. This is exactly what happened. In this situation, the breached time limit and the right to appeal were critical but were lost when the parent signed an agreement waiving rights.
Parents mistakenly believe that if an expulsion hearing panel quickly hears the student, they will be returned to school. Sadly, this may not be the case, so rushing is not the answer. Had the parent not waived the time limit, he could have brought in legal counsel and may have had a better outcome.
Resist the tactics to get you to waive student rights in expulsion hearings unless there is a benefit for the student. In my experience, there usually is not, unless REAL negotiations have occurred (e.g. with equal footing). When in doubt, review with legal counsel BEFORE signing.
Parent and student expulsion lawyer Michelle Ball has assisted parents since the 1990s with expulsion and suspension problems and negotiating student-positive outcomes. As an education attorney in Sacramento, Michelle helps statewide, in locations such as West Sacramento, Covina, Monterey, Downey, Antioch, Richmond, Jurupa Valley and many other cities.