Last Updated on September 23, 2022 by Michelle Ball
By Michelle Ball, Sacramento California Expulsion, Special Education, sports/CIF, College, Education and School Attorney/Lawyer for Students since 1995
It used to be that suspended students could not get homework unless their teachers decided they could. No longer. California law now provides that students suspended two or more days can get homework, IF the student or parent requests it.
What Law Mandates Homework During Suspension (if requested)?
For several years, the California legislature has been on a push to keep students in school who commit wrongs, to avoid suspensions if possible, and to instead use restorative justice and positive behavior interventions.
One of the legal changes to support these goals is in Education Code 48913.5 which states:
(a) Upon the request of a parent, a legal guardian or other person holding the right to make educational decisions for the pupil, or the affected pupil, a teacher shall provide to a pupil in any of grades 1 to 12… who has been suspended from school for two or more schooldays the homework that the pupil would otherwise have been assigned.
Homework during school suspensions is now available to students suspended two days or longer.
This means students suspended pending expulsion can get their work, and don’t have to rely on a teacher or administrator deciding to, maybe (sigh), give it to them.
Homework Must be Requested
When a student is suspended two or more days, to get homework, the parent or student has to actually take action and request the homework from the school. If no request is made for homework, there is no obligation to provide it.
So, this a student right, but only if actually used. If a parent fails to ask, the school does not have to do anything.
Timeframe to Complete Work
The law does not have a precise time specified when a student has to turn in the homework received during suspension. However, section 48913.5 indicates that work can be turned in upon the student’s return from suspension or within the original homework timeframe.
What that second part, “original timeframe” means, isn’t entirely clear. Does this mean if the student had a week to turn it in, they have another week? Or do they just have to turn the work in on the due date, even if it is 3 days from when they return? It is unclear.
Families may have to work directly with a teacher on when work should be submitted.
Late Work Penalty?
The law does not address whether there may be a late penalty for work turned in. But, as the legislature granted students this right to complete and turn in homework while suspended, it is logical that there should be no late penalty.
Work That is Not Graded Prior to End of Semester
Section 48913.5 does indicate that if the suspended student’s homework is not graded before the end of the semester or term, it is not to be factored into the student’s overall grade.
Charter Schools Are Also Obligated to Provide Homework
The legislature mandated similar requirements in charter schools for students suspended two days or more. These charter school students also must be provided with homework while suspended if a parent asks, under a different section: Education Code 47606.2.
The motto of this story is don’t forget to ask for student homework during suspension!
Michelle Ball is a lawyer for students, helping California families with problems in schools and colleges. As an attorney in Sacramento, she reaches families throughout the state, in Red Bluff, Cool, San Jose, Amador, Oakland, Granite Bay, and can assist throughout California.