Suspended Expulsions- What Are They And Are They Good?


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Last Updated on June 7, 2021 by Michelle Ball

By Michelle Ball, California Education Attorney for Students since 1995

Parents involved in fighting a school expulsion can be confused with the process and language of school expulsions. One key expulsion term to know is “SUSPENDED EXPULSION. ”

Agreeing to a suspended expulsion has long term impacts for the elementary, middle or high school student. What is a Suspended Expulsion and what does agreeing to one mean for a student?

Suspended expulsion school
Learning the language of school expulsions can be important for parents to understand what is going on

What Is a Suspended Expulsion

A Suspended Expulsion is a special type of school expulsion. It is basically a student expulsion which is probationary.

This probationary discipline is supposedly offered so a student can be rehabilitated from their alleged bad conduct, and is described more in California Education Code section 48917.

This “rehabilitation” occurs via a student Rehabilitation Plan which is included in the school expulsion document itself. The Rehabilitation Plan includes things like student counseling, community service, keeping school grades up, attending school, following school and community rules, and other types of student actions.

Language Which Indicates a Student Got a Suspended Expulsion

When a student receives or is offered discipline in the form of a suspended expulsion, the expulsion agreement or order will usually state that the student is expelled, but the expulsion is suspended.

Also included will be language that the student’s Suspended Expulsion will terminate if the Rehabilitation Plan is not met. In that case, the student would then be expelled regularly and have to go to a continuation or community school.

Advantages of Suspended Expulsion

A Suspended Expulsion has many advantages for the student and is usually far more desirable than a regular school expulsion.

Student expulsion discipline
Suspended expulsion can be better long term than a regular expulsion for a student

A Suspended Expulsion is a Probationary Expulsion

The first advantage of a Suspended Expulsion is that it is probationary. A Suspended Expulsion supposedly holds back the regular expulsion which is imposed. This is to give the student a chance to do okay in school and to avoid the regular expulsion.

Student May Be Able to Stay in Regular School

Sometimes students on a Suspended Expulsion may continue attending the school where the alleged bad conduct occurred. Or, a disciplined student may be able to transfer to a different regular (comprehensive) school within the district while on the Suspended Expulsion.

Under a full expulsion, this may not be possible, depending on the offense.

Try to Get Regular School Noted in Suspended Expulsion

As school districts can vary on where a student is placed during discipline, if a suspended expulsion will be negotiated, it is best to try to get the school(s) where a student may attend during the Suspended Expulsion written into the expulsion document. If a student will be allowed to attend a comprehensive site (regular school), parents should get this written into the student’s discipline agreement.

Continuation or Community School on Suspended Expulsion?

Some schools still place a student at continuation or community school, even while on a Suspended Expulsion, which seems to defeat the purpose of a Suspended Expulsion.

Suspended Expulsions Can Be Expunged

Another advantage of a Suspended Expulsion is that per California Education Code section 48917(e) the school board may expunge the Suspended Expulsion (wipe it out of the student’s records) after it ends.

student expulsion records
Expulsions can remain in student records if not expunged

Section 48917*(e) states:

Upon satisfactory completion of the rehabilitation assignment of a pupil, the governing board shall reinstate the pupil in a school of the district and may also order the expungement of any or all records of the expulsion proceedings.

This is great news for students, whose records may be cleaned up if the district’s school board finds in their favor.

Petitioning the School Board for Expulsion Expungement

It is possible that in the Suspended Expulsion document, automatic expungment may be included (e.g. after proving the Rehabilitation Plan terms were met).

If automatic expungement is not included, a parent may petition the district’s school board asking them to expunge the discipline from the student’s educational records. The school board can order expungement of the Suspended Expulsion if they see that all the Rehabilitation Plan terms were met and the student is doing well.


Michelle Ball is a Sacramento expulsion attorney helping students throughout California, including in Sacramento, Elk Grove, Roseville, Fairfield, Stockton, Auburn, the Bay Area and all other areas of California.