Your Child is Facing Expulsion from a California Public School, Now What?

What is an expulsion from school?

Expulsion means the school prevents the student from attending school or any other traditional schools in the school district.

When can a public school expel a student?

There are five mandatory expulsion offenses, five expected expulsion offenses, and then several named discretionary offenses for which a student may be expelled. A public school is mandated to expel a student for the following behaviors: 1. possessing or selling firearms, 2. threatening another person with a knife, 3. selling a controlled substance, 4. attempting or committing a sexual assault, 5. possessing an explosive.

A school must recommend and is expected to expel a student for five other behavior if the allegations are found to be true. These include: 1. causing serious bodily injury, 2. possession of a knife, 3. possession or use of a controlled substance or alcohol, 4. robbery or extortion, 5. assault or battery on a school employee.  All other offenses are discretionary on whether to expel and include damage to property, theft of property, possession of tobacco, possession of drug paraphernalia, hazing, bullying, or sexual harassment. Cal. Educ. Code. Section 48900.

What are the students rights during the expulsion process?

Before expulsion, a student has the right to an expulsion hearing within thirty school days of the proposed expulsion. The school district must provide the student written notice of their expulsion hearing date at least ten days prior to the hearing. The notice must have the date, time, and location of the hearing, a statement of specific facts and charges, a copy of the disciplinary rules, and a notice of parent due process rights. The student also has the right to request their student records and inspect evidence to be used against them before the expulsion hearing.

The student’s expulsion hearing will be recorded. During the hearing, the student has the right to bring an advocate, including an attorney, to help tell his/her side of the events. The student has a right to confront and cross-examine witnesses at the hearing, question all the evidence, present oral and documentary evidence, and remain silent. During an expulsion hearing, the technical rules of evidence do not apply. This means that hearsay is allowed, but a school district cannot expel a student solely based on hearsay evidence. Cal. Educ. Code. Section 48918. After the hearing, the school district has five days to make its final expulsion decision.

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

Students have rights after a final expulsion decision has been made, including the right to a written final decision and the right to appeal within thirty days of the expulsion decision to the Board of Education. Cal. Educ. Code. Section 48918. A student may also request the expulsion be suspended so they may remain in the district on probation with a rehabilitation plan they will need to complete.

What if a student is facing sexual assault allegations?

If a student is facing sexual assault allegations, then special rules of evidence apply during the expulsion hearing. If the hearing is going to be public, then the complaining witness will have the right to testimony heard in a closed session, or a videotaped deposition if testifying would pose a threat of serious psychological harm on the witness.

Can Moore Law for Children help me navigate this process?

If your child is facing school discipline such as suspension or expulsion in a California public school and you want to learn more about what you can do to protect their rights and education, Call # now to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.