When it comes to suspension and expulsion, parents often wonder what their child’s rights are and what they aren’t. This is especially true for parents of students with disabilities.
To be prepared for any possible punishments a school may try to bestow upon your child, it would be handy to know what is and isn’t an expellable offense.
In the Santa Cruz City Schools district, any student – including a student with disabilities – can be suspended or expelled only for specified reasons, most of which revolve around threatening or willfully inflicting violence on another person; weapons and dangerous instruments; alcohol, tobacco and other drugs; sexual assault; obscene acts; hazing; bullying; and terrorists threats.
The following are included as suspendable but not expellable offenses according to the district:
- Sexual harassment
- Harassment that disrupts classwork
- Causing substantial disorder
- Invading the rights of school personnel or students by creating an intimidating or hostile education environment
What to do if a student is recommended for expulsion
Students who are expelled have a right to an expulsion hearing to determine whether or not he/she should be expelled. It is to be held within 30 school days after the Superintendent, principal or designee determines the student committed acts that are grounds for expulsion.
A student is entitled to at least one postponement, which must be requested in writing and for no more than 30 school days. Any further postponements are at the board’s discretion.
The Superintendent, principal or designee may offer you and your child the option to waive a hearing and stipulate to the expulsion under certain conditions. If you do this, you will be waiving your right to legal counsel in the matter of your child’s expulsion.
If a school recommends your child for expulsion, know what your child’s rights are in regards to fair punishment. Consider seeking the advice of a special education law attorney who can help mediate between you and the school to come to a solution that makes everyone happy.