Learn How to Protect Your Child During the Public School Suspension Process in California.

What is a suspension from public school?

Suspension is a form of school discipline which temporarily removes a student from a class or from school. Your school may prohibit you from school grounds, a classroom, or place you in a supervised suspension classroom separate from other students.

When can a California public school suspend a student and what for?

A public school cannot suspend a student for just anything in California. It can suspend a student only for behavior explicitly listed in the California Education Code. For example, a school cannot suspend a student for school absences or tardiness. Also, a school cannot suspend students below the fourth grade from school or impose in-school suspension for willful defiance.

Additionally, a school may only suspend a student for conduct related to a school activity or school attendance. This includes conduct at school, during school-sponsored activities, and on your way to and from school or school-sponsored activities.

What must a public school do before it suspends a student?

Prior to a suspension, the school must have tried alternative means of correction if this is the student’s first offense unless the offense is serious or violent. Those means could include: parent conferences, after-school programs, community service, referral for a comprehensive psychoeducational assessment, or participation in a restorative justice program. Schools should also document the interventions they use. A serious or violent offense is one involving violence, dangerous weapons, drug sales, robbery or extortion, or if the student causes a danger to persons. Cal. Educ. Code Section 48900.

What are the student’s rights during the suspension process?

A student facing suspension in a California public school has a right to a pre-suspension meeting. During the pre-suspension meeting, the school must present the student with the allegations and evidence regarding the cause of the suspension. The school must give the student an opportunity to defend him/herself. At this meeting, the school must describe the other means of correction that were tried before suspension if the suspension is not the result of a serious or violent offense. Cal. Educ. Code. Section 48991.

What are the student’s rights after a final decision of suspension has been made?

After a final decision of suspension has been made, the public school must send a written notice of its decision to the parents or guardians of the student. Additionally, a suspension can only be up to five days at a time and up to twenty days total in one school year; but that can be extended pending expulsion. A student may also have the right to challenge the school’s final decision.

Can Moore Law for Children help me navigate this process?

If you or your child is facing school discipline and you want to learn more about your rights, the experienced attorneys at Moore Law for Children can help you navigate your situation. Moore Law for Children serves clients in all of California including the greater Orange County and Los Angeles areas. Call # now to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.