Last Updated on March 17, 2021 by Michelle Ball
By Michelle Ball, California Education Attorney for Students since 1995
Did a public school expulsion recommendation just get sprung on you? Or is the expulsion hearing fast approaching and you don’t feel you have enough time to prepare your child’s defense? Not to worry- you can push back the expulsion hearing, up to 30 calendar days, with no questions asked.
Parents often feel helpless when they are facing an expulsion hearing. When they finally receive a hearing date, they may have less than 10 days to prepare.
Meanwhile, parents are still recovering from the shock that their child is UP FOR EXPULSION (!), dealing with their new presence at home, rather than at school, and need to prepare for a legal hearing with evidence and witnesses.
Parents sometimes have not even received the documents from the school for the hearing when they get the hearing date, or if they did get the expulsion packet, it can be full of falsehoods they don’t know how to address. It can all be very trying. Postponement can help.
Per California Education Code section 48918(a), a student is entitled to at least one postponement of the expulsion hearing for a maximum of 30 calendar days.
To get the postponement, the request should be put in a formal communication (written), and receipt by the school district verified. A parent should also follow up to get verification from the school district that the original hearing date is now OFF CALENDAR, even if a new date has not yet been set. If something goes haywire, like the district did not receive the request for postponement, or a secretary did not pass it on, a parent needs to catch this quick.
In the request for a new hearing, a parent can list dates they may want for the new hearing, or ask that the new date not be set until both sides agree. Districts don’t always coordinate a new date, as sometimes they have set hearing times (particularly if the full school board will hear the matter), but coordination of the new date is usually possible.
There are wrinkles in this, as always, as if there is a procedural issue with the district’s notice of hearing and a postponement is requested, this could potentially be waived, but parents may also attempt to reserve any of these issues when they request postponement. Whether a postponement is advisable or not, is a fact-dependent matter.
Expulsion hearings are very important and should be approached by parents in an organized way. If a postponement means the difference between being prepared or unprepared, it may be wise to consider a requesting one.
[Originally published 1/10/11, edited 11/20/19, 9/9/20]
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.