School Expulsion Lawyers Explain School Expulsion Hearings in California – Education Code 48900
Do You Need a School Expulsion Attorney?
You may not think an attorney is required if your child is facing a school suspension or school expulsion hearing, however, the consequences of your child being suspended or expelled from school can have a tremendous effect on your child’s future.
Any student who faces expulsion from school is in danger of becoming yet another victim of the nationwide phenomenon which children’s advocates have labeled “the school to prison pipeline.” In school districts across the nation, “zero tolerance” rules promote juvenile delinquency and criminalization by allowing schools to expel or suspend students for minor infractions such as disobeying a teacher.1 Being expelled can lead your child down a path that may end in prison.2
Thus, it is essential that you contact an experienced school expulsion attorney right away. The attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have over 40 years of experience successfully defending our clients in school expulsion hearings. We can help you, too.
Call us today at (877) 466-5245 to receive expert legal advice about your case. Be sure to read on to learn more about school expulsion laws so that you can be fully informed about your charges.
Why Hire Wallin & Klarich?
The success of our expulsion defense firm has helped us achieve the highest of merits, including a 5 out of 5 AV rating on Lawyers.com, a 10 out of 10 rating on AVVO.com, and an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
For over 40 years, the expulsion lawyers at Wallin & Klarich have helped many people like you facing school expulsion.
Call Wallin & Klarich Today
You can place your trust in Wallin & Klarich. Our knowledgeable California school expulsion lawyers are committed to defending your rights and your freedom. Call us today for immediate help in your expulsion hearing.
For more information on school expulsion and education laws, read below or simply pick up the phone and speak to one of our skilled expulsion attorneys today.
Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free telephone consultation.
What are the Grounds for Suspension or Expulsion in California?
Under California Education Code 48900,3 your child can be expelled for committing or attempting to commit certain offenses.
A student is in violation of Education Code Section 48900 when he/she:
- Caused or threatened to cause physical injury to another person
- Willfully used force or violence upon another person, except in self-defense
- Possessed, sold, or otherwise furnished a firearm, knife, explosive, or other dangerous object
- Unlawfully possessed, used, sold, or otherwise furnished, or been under the influence of, a controlled substance
- Unlawfully offered, arranged, or negotiated to sell a controlled substance
- Committed or attempted to commit robbery or extortion
- Caused or attempted to cause damage to school property or private property
- Stole or attempted to steal school property or private property
- Possessed or used tobacco
- Committed an obscene act or engaged in habitual profanity or vulgarity
- Unlawfully possessed or unlawfully offered, arranged, or negotiated to sell drug paraphernalia
- Disrupted school activities or otherwise willfully defied the valid authority of supervisors, teachers, administrators, school officials, or other school personnel engaged in the performance of their duties
- Knowingly received stolen school property or private property
- Possessed an imitation firearm, which means a replica of a firearm that is so substantially similar in physical properties to an existing firearm as to lead a reasonable person to conclude that the replica is a firearm
- Committed or attempted to commit a sexual assault or committed a sexual battery
- Harassed, threatened, or intimidated a student who is a complaining witness or a witness in a school disciplinary proceeding for the purpose of either preventing that student from being a witness or retaliating against that student for being a witness, or both
- Engaged in, or attempted to engage in, hazing. “Hazing” means a method of initiation or pre-initiation into a student organization or body, whether or not the organization or body is officially recognized by an educational institution, which is likely to cause serious bodily injury or personal degradation or disgrace resulting in physical or mental harm to a former, current, or prospective student
- Engaged in an act of bullying, including, but not limited to, bullying committed by means of an electronic act, directed specifically toward a student or school personnel.
In order to expel your child for any of these acts, the school must hold a hearing and prove that your child committed the alleged act. Students who violate school “zero tolerance” policies face severe punishment. Following expulsion, your child may face challenges in the future, such as difficulty getting accepted into other schools or finding a job.
The Expulsion/Suspension Process (California Education Code 48918)
- The Principal or School District Superintendent determines that the student has broken a rule contained in California Education Code 48900. The school may only expel a student for breaking a rule while:
- On school grounds.
- Traveling to or from school.
- During lunch break whether on or off campus.
- Going to, coming from, or present at a school-sponsored activity.
- A hearing is scheduled to be held within 30 schooldays after the alleged incident. The hearing can be conducted by the governing board of the student’s school district, a panel of 3 appointees (e.g. teachers), the county hearing officer, or a hearing officer contracted through the Office of Administrative Hearings of the State of California.
- The student must receive written notice at least 10 days before the scheduled hearing. The notice must contain:
- The facts and charges the expulsion is based on.
- The date and place of the hearing.
- A copy of the rules the student allegedly broke.
- A notice to the parent or emancipated student of the duty to inform a new school district of the expulsion prior to enrollment (Education code 48915.1 (b).
- The notice must also inform the student of the following rights:
- The right to be present and/or have a parent/guardian present at the hearing
- To be represented by an attorney or non-attorney advisor
- To inspect and obtain copies of all documents to be used at the hearing
- To confront all witnesses who testify at the hearing (If a witness will not be present at the hearing, the school board must show reasonable cause why that witness cannot be present at the hearing.4)
- To question all evidence presented
- To present written and spoken evidence in defense of the student, including witnesses
- To request the school board to subpoena witnesses to testify at the hearing
- The student has a right to request at least one postponement of the hearing in writing. The postponement can be for 30 calendar days. Any additional postponements are granted at the school board’s discretion.
- The student has a right to request in writing at least 5 days before the scheduled hearing that the hearing be conducted at a public meeting. Whether the hearing is conducted in private or public, the governing board will meet in private after the hearing to decide whether the student should be expelled. If the board admits any other person to the closed meeting where the student’s fate is decided, the student, the student’s parent or guardian, and/or the student’s counsel must also be allowed to be present at the closed meeting.
- A decision must be made regarding the student’s punishment within 3 school days or 10 calendar days after the hearing. The hearing officer or panel may do 3 things:
- Recommend expulsion (includes being barred from attending any school in the district),
- Suspend expulsion for up to a year, during which the student must abide by all rules, or
- Reinstate the student fully with no further consequences.
- The student has the right to appeal an expulsion decision with the County Board of Education. Like criminal appeals, an expulsion hearing appeal will only challenge whether any procedural errors were made in conducting the initial hearing.
The above is by no means a complete list of all the rules and rights involved in expelling a California student from school. For more information related to school expulsion proceedings, you should contact an attorney today.
Appealing a School Expulsion Decision
If your child is expelled from school, you may file an appeal with the county board of education within 30 days after the school board’s decision. The review by the county board of education of the school board’s decision shall be limited to the following questions:
- Whether the school board acted without or in excess of its jurisdiction
- Whether there was a fair hearing before the school board
- Whether there was a prejudicial abuse of discretion in the hearing
- Whether there is relevant material evidence which, in the exercise of reasonable diligence, could not have been produced or which was improperly excluded at the hearing before the school board
The county board of education will make a decision on whether to affirm, reverse, or remand the matter back to the school board.
What are the Consequences of School Expulsion?
Expulsion from school can hurt your child’s chances of being accepted to the college he/she wants to attend. If your child is expelled and does not find another school to attend, your child could face difficulty finding a job as a result of not finishing high school.
Expulsion from school can result in your child being expelled from the entire school district. Finding alternative education institutions can be a burden for parents. Families may have to move from their home and/or find a new place of employment as a result.
What Happens If Your Child Gets Expelled from School?
When a child is expelled from school, they are no longer allowed to attend school for a long period of time, often over a year. Generally, expulsion is used only as a last-resort punishment and is considered the most serious disciplinary action by the school. This means that it is usually only reserved for major issues, such as a student bringing a gun to school or selling drugs on school grounds. When a child gets expelled, they are removed from the school roster and prohibited from attending school or school-related activities. This may even include not being allowed on school property for sporting events or graduations. Due to the high stakes involved in your child’s education, expulsion should be taken seriously.
Why Do I Need an Attorney for a School Expulsion Hearing?
A skilled attorney will look at every element of the allegations against your child. An attorney will organize your child’s defense for your child’s school expulsion hearing and deliver a strong argument on why your child should not be expelled.
Having an experienced attorney with you at your child’s expulsion hearing shows that you and your child are serious about fighting the charges. We can help defend against any false allegations or argue why your child deserves a second chance.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Do the California Education Code rules apply to private as well as public schools?
Most of the rules in the Education Code do not apply to private schools as they are private entities under contract with and accountable to the parents who enroll their children. However, all schools have to meet California’s educational standards.5 Private schools have their own rules which your child can be expelled for breaking, and these rules should be in the contract agreement.
- If our child is on a suspended expulsion and breaks a rule, does he have the right to another hearing before being expelled?
No, the suspended expulsion from the initial hearing will be enforced if your child breaks any rule listed in the Education Code during the period of suspension.
- Do we have to notify a private school if our child was expelled from public school?
Yes, you have to notify any school you attempt to enroll your child in after the expulsion, and they may choose to bar your child from attending.
- Will a record of school expulsion be sealed if it is appealed and overturned?
Yes, but some colleges ask whether a student has ever been expelled or suspended from school in their application, and may turn down a student with a prior school expulsion. Also, unless you request that the school seal the expulsion record, it could appear on your child’s high school transcripts which are sent to the college.
- Does our child have a right to a public defender?
No, an expulsion hearing is not a criminal trial so your child is not eligible for a public defender.
- Our family lives from paycheck to paycheck. How can we afford to hire an attorney to defend our child?
At Wallin & Klarich we believe that everybody should be able to hire an experienced, skillful attorney to fight for their rights. For this reason, we offer certain payment plans in many cases. For more payment options, contact us today.
Call Wallin & Klarich Today if Your Child is Facing Expulsion
At Wallin & Klarich our attorneys have over 40 years of experience protecting students in danger of being expelled from school. We will demand that your child gets a fair hearing, and use our skill and experience to plan a defense strategy that will ensure your child gets the best outcome possible.
With offices located in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich school expulsion attorney available to help your child no matter where you work or live.
Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.
4. Goss v Lopez, 419 U.S. 565 (1975); John A. v. San Bernardino City Unified School District (1982) 33 Cal. 3rd 301.↩