Understanding Student Rights in School Expulsion Cases (AB 1729 & Education Code 48900.5)
When it comes to the education of children, students have certain legal rights, and it is in your best interest to understand these rights if you are a student or the parent of a student.
The first legal right was established by the Supreme Court in 1924 when it ruled that parents have the right to direct the education of their children. The second legal right was established in 1969 when the Supreme Court held that students do not shed their rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate. This was expanded in 1975 to include due process rights when a student faces suspension or expulsion from school. Essentially, this means that fair procedures and treatment must be followed in suspension and expulsion cases.
These rights are not always easy to comprehend, but it is important that you are knowledgeable of these rights if you are a student or the parent of a student. This knowledge could be necessary if you are suspended or recommended for expulsion. Let’s help you understand these rights.
When Can a Student Be Expelled or Suspended?
California law lists specific circumstances under which a student can be deprived of an education and the type of process that must be followed when students face expulsion. California laws governing expulsions are also designed to ensure that the disciplinary sanctions are appropriate for the offense.
Expulsion and suspension of students from school pose serious concerns for students and their parents. A long-term suspension or an expulsion could have a long-lasting impact on a child’s life.
Thankfully, the California Education Code considers suspension a last resort for schools. Effective January 2013, California amended Education Code Section 48900.5, requiring that, for non-violent offenses, schools suspend students only when all other means of correction fail.
Assembly Bill 1729 & California Education Code Section 48900.5
AB 1729 gives school administrators more flexibility in disciplining students, including alternatives to suspension or expulsion that are age appropriate and aimed at correcting specific behavior. Under this law, school districts can document all of the forms of correction used on a student and place it in the student’s record. Documenting the different correction methods helps school districts prove that expulsion is necessary when it is recommended.
Other means of correction provided for by AB 1729 include, but are not limited to:
- A conference between school personnel, the student, and the student’s parent or guardian
- Referral to a school counselor, psychologist, social worker, child welfare attendance personnel, or other school support service personnel for counseling or case management
- Study, guidance, or resource panel teams, or other intervention-related teams to assess behavior and develop and implement plans to address the pupil’s behavior
- Referral for comprehensive psychosocial or psychoeducational assessment
Enrollment in a program that teaches anger management skills or prosocial behavior
- Participation in a restorative justice program
- A positive behavior support approach using tiered interventions that occur on campus during school days
- After-school programs that address specific behavioral issues or expose pupils to positive activities and behaviors; and
- Alternatives described in Education Code Section 48900.6
If your child has not been subjected to these methods of correction, you should speak to an attorney about representing your child at a school expulsion hearing.
Contact Our School Expulsion Lawyers Today
A school expulsion could have a devastating impact on your life and the life of your child. That is why you should hire an experienced school expulsion attorney to represent your child at a school expulsion hearing. Our lawyers at Wallin & Klarich have been successfully defending students in school expulsion matters for more than 40 years. Let us help you now.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, West Covina, Torrance, Los Angeles and San Diego, our skilled and knowledgeable school expulsion lawyers are available to help you no matter where you are located.
Contact our law firm today at (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.