Last Updated on April 8, 2021 by Michelle Ball
By Michelle Ball, California Education Attorney for Students since 1995
What happens when a public school student is recommended for expulsion? Parents thrust into the school expulsion process need to know what steps led to the referral and what may occur next.
Report of Suspendable Offense Starts School Expulsion Process
The entire school expulsion process begins when someone, usually a parent, student or school staff remember, reports a student for some bad conduct. This can be verbally, via email or via a written document. Sometimes the police are the ones to inform the school of the student’s alleged expellable conduct.
Before an expulsion recommendation, the school (usually the vice principal) starts to “investigate” an allegation by calling student witnesses into the school office for interviews. School staff may use the accused student’s name and will ask leading questions. Students are usually asked to complete written witness statements.
Meeting with Accused Student
The accused student is usually called in after others are interviewed.
The student being investigated for expulsion may or may not be told the “evidence” and/or what they are being alleged to have done. Sometimes students are just asked to tell what happened on a certain day or with a certain person. Schools may not even ask the accused student’s story or can cut them off.
The student will be asked to write a statement and may be directed what to write in the statement.
I have heard of students being threatened with police involvement if they did not confess or they did not sign an admission. Students accused of wrongdoing may also be held in the school office for the entire school day without their parents knowing.
Much of this conduct breaches the student’s rights. Schools seem to forget student rights frequently.
Call To Parent/Meeting With Parent
After the student is interviewed and most discipline evidence is gathered, the school expulsion process usually leads to a parent phone call. Parents are usually told the basic allegations, that the child is being suspended, and are told to pick the student up.
The process may involve the parent being invited to meet with school staff about the allegations. Usually the expulsion recommendation decision and decision to suspend are made before the parent is called.
The student is usually suspended for five days and a suspension form is created.
Meeting with District
While the student is at home on the five day suspension, or maybe before they left the school office, the parent is usually told the next step in the school expulsion process is to meet with school district officials. A suspension extension/expulsion review meeting will be scheduled.
Extension of Suspension Until Expulsion Hearing
The meeting with the school district is purportedly to review the discipline allegations and whether a student may or may not be recommended for school expulsion.
At this meeting, the school district usually extends the out-of-school suspension until the expulsion hearing. District staff may review the school expulsion process. The student’s expulsion hearing will be set within thirty schooldays, and no sooner than ten calendar days after the meeting.
Schoolwork may be sent to the student during the extended suspension. In the alternative, the student may be transferred to independent study, with parent consent.
Recommendation for Expulsion
After the school district meeting, a formal notice reflecting the recommendation for student expulsion and extension of out-of-school suspension will usually be sent to the student’s home.
Paperwork Provided Regarding the School Expulsion Process
During this time, paperwork may be provided to the student, such as the notice of expulsion hearing, documents to be used at the expulsion hearing, or other information.
The student expulsion hearing will proceed on the date in the written hearing notice. Parents can call witnesses. Students can be represented by an education attorney. [see Q & A on expulsion hearing evidence]
Board of Education Review of Expulsion Recommendation
If the student’s expulsion hearing was not held in front of the Board of Education for the school district, the recommendation of the school expulsion hearing panel or hearing officer will be reviewed. The review is conducted in closed session by the Board of Education.
Parents may address the Board of Education regarding any decision to expel during their closed session. Parents should request to address the school board in advance.
The school board votes on the school expulsion and a written notice of the decision is sent out. This usually ends the school expulsion process, unless the parents appeal the decision.
Attendance at Another School
After a school expulsion process is concluded, the student can enroll in the school named in the Board of Education’s formal expulsion decision. In the alternative, parents may try to enroll the student in another school of their choice. However, the new school must be outside the district they were expelled from.
It can be hard to get an expelled student admitted, however, to neighboring school districts due to the school expulsion.
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.