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Expulsion and Readmission

A teacher has no power to expel a disruptive or violent student from class or school. The expulsion process can be triggered only by recommendation of the principal or superintendent (or a hearing officer). Ed. Code 48915. A teacher can, of course, present evidence and urge expulsion. Once expulsion is formally recommended, a detailed series of notices and hearings transpire prior to actual expulsion. Ed. Code 48918. Various appeals can also be undertaken to the county board of education. Ed. Code 48902-48924.       

An expulsion order remains in effect until the governing board orders the pupil's readmission. The governing board must adopt rules and regulations establishing a procedure for filing and processing requests for readmission. The governing board shall set a date, not later than one year after the expulsion occurred, when the pupil may apply for readmission to the district.  However, the governing board is not required to readmit a pupil. If the governing board denies readmission, the board shall determine whether the pupil shall continue in the program initially selected for him/her or to place the pupil in another program. Ed. Code 48916,48916.2.

Upon voting to expel a pupil, the governing board may suspend enforcement of the expulsion order for up to one year and may assign the pupil to an appropriate rehabilitation program, which may provide for the involvement of the pupil's parents. Ed. Code 48917.

Upon expulsion of a pupil for possessing, selling or furnishing a firearm, brandishing a knife, or selling drugs, the governing board shall refer that pupil to a program of study that is prepared to accommodate pupils who exhibit discipline problems which is not housed within an elementary, middle, junior or senior high school or at the school site attended by the pupil at the time of suspension. A pupil who is expelled for a lesser offense shall be placed in a similar program unless the county superintendent certifies that such program is not available, and then the pupil may be referred to a program of study at an elementary, middle, junior or senior high school.  Ed. Code 48915.

The principal, the superintendent or the governing board may require a pupil to perform community service on school grounds during non-school hours in lieu of suspension or expulsion. Ed. Code 48900.6.

Immediate Suspension

The principal or superintendent of schools shall immediately suspend, pursuant to due process requirements, and shall recommend expulsion of any pupil who committed the following acts at school or at a school activity off school grounds:

  1. possessing, selling or furnishing a firearm;
  2. brandishing a knife at another person;
  3. selling a controlled substance;
  4. committing or attempting to commit a sexual assault or sexual battery.

Upon finding that a pupil committed one of these acts, the governing board shall expel the pupil for up to one year, and shall refer that pupil to a program of study that is prepared to accommodate students who exhibit discipline problems and is not provided at a comprehensive elementary, middle, junior, or senior high school or at the school attended by the pupil at the time of expulsion, except a community day school. Ed. Code 48915,48915.2.

Serious Offenses

For any of the following acts, a principal or superintendent shall recommend and the governing board may order expulsion (unless the principal or superintendent finds in writing that expulsion is inappropriate):

  1. Causing serious physical injury to another person, except in self-defense.
  2. Possession of any knife, explosive, or other dangerous object of no reasonable use to the pupil at school or at a school activity off school grounds.
  3. Unlawful sale of any controlled substance except for the first offense for the sale of marijuana.
  4. Robbery or extortion.
  5. Assault or battery on any school employee. Ed. Code 48915(a).

In order to expel a pupil, the governing board must find that either: (1) other means of correction are not feasible or have repeatedly failed to bring about proper conduct; or (2) due to the nature of the violation, the presence of the pupil causes a continuing danger to the physical safety of the pupil or others. Ed. Code 48915.

A pupil expelled from school for the above reasons shall not be permitted to enroll in any other school or school district during the period of expulsion except a county community school, a juvenile court school, or a community day school. Ed. Code 48915.2.

After the expulsion period, a school district may permit the individual to enroll if determination is made that the student does not pose a danger to either the pupils or employees of the district. Ed. Code 48915.2(b).

Less Serious Offenses

In order to expel pupils based on other grounds for expulsion, the governing board must find that either: (1) other means of correction are not feasible or have repeatedly failed to bring about proper conduct; or (2) due to the nature of the violation, the presence of the pupil causes a continuing danger to the physical safety of the pupil or others.  Ed. Code 48915.

To readmit students expelled on these grounds, the board shall hold a hearing to determine whether the student poses a continuing danger to the pupils or employees of the district. The district may request information from another district regarding the expulsion of an enrollment applicant. A parent, guardian, emancipated pupil, or pupil of legal age, shall inform the receiving school district of his or her expulsion from a previous school district. Ed. Code 48915.1.

A school board can deny enrollment to a pupil who has been expelled from another school district for the expulsion period, if it determines that the pupil poses a danger to students or employees in the school district. Ed. Code 48915.1. However, if the governing board determines that the student does not pose a danger to pupils or employees, it shall permit the individual to enroll in the district during the term of the expulsion, provided that the student has either legal residence in the district or pursuant to an inter-district agreement.  Ed. Code 48915.1.