How to Fight a School Expulsion in California

Approximately 20,000 students are expelled from their schools in California each year.[citation needed] Under the California Education Code 48900, your child can face being expelled from school under many circumstances. The outcome of a school expulsion hearing can drastically change the course of your child’s future. This is why it is important that you are focused and determined in defending your child. If your child is facing a school expulsion hearing, it is not a certainty that they will be expelled. You and your child can take several steps to fight the allegations and preserve his or her educational future.


  1. Image titled Fight a School Expulsion in California Step 1
    Know the facts. Before being expelled from the school district, your child will confront a school expulsion hearing. At these hearings, an independent panel will discuss the circumstances and consequences surrounding your child’s actions. Some actions that can result in being expelled from school under California Education Code 48900 include:
    • Threatening to cause physical injury to another person;
    • Using force or violence on another person;
    • Possession of a firearm or other dangerous object without written permission from a school employee;
    • Possession of a controlled substance;
    • Arranging to sell a controlled substance;
    • Robbery or extortion;
    • Academic dishonesty;
    • Possession of tobacco ,other nicotine products and illegal drugs
    • Hazing and bullying.
  2. Image titled Fight a School Expulsion in California Step 2
    Prepare yourself for the hearing. Expulsion or suspension proceedings consist of two parts.
    • The first part includes an independent panel, which hears testimony on your child’s case. Testimony will come from school officials, witnesses, the student, and any other person who is authorized to speak on behalf of your child.
    • The panel will then recommend your child to be suspended, expelled, or resume his or her education at the school.
    • The school board will review the panel’s decision and either approve it or reverse it.
    For the initial expulsion hearing, it is absolutely vital that you are prepared with facts about the case and an appropriate defense for your child.
    Image titled Fight a School Expulsion in California Step 3
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    Hire an attorney. While hiring an attorney may seem extreme, your child’s educational future hinges on the expulsion hearing. As such, it is likely to be an investment that is well worth it. The panel at the hearing can do any of the following:
    • (a) Recommend an expulsion so that your child cannot attend any school in the district;
    • (b) Suspend expulsion, which puts your child on probation for one year; or
    • (c) Recommend no expulsion, so that your child resumes school normally.
    Obviously, each of these outcomes will greatly affect your child’s future, not only in terms of their education, but emotionally as well. This is why having an attorney who can represent your child’s best interests at these hearings may be vital. An attorney’s goal will be to keep your child in the same school or district and help them continue receiving the best education possible. Having an attorney by your side at a school expulsion hearing will show that you are serious about fighting the allegations and give you the confidence you need to face the panel.
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    File an appeal. If the board ultimately decides that your child should be expelled from school, you have 30 days to file an appeal of the school board’s decision. An attorney will certainly help you file this appeal and try to prove to the county board of education that your child was wrongly expelled. Your appeal will be reviewed by the county board of education, which will look at the following questions:
    • Did the governing board act without or in excess of its jurisdiction?;
    • Was the hearing fair?;
    • Was there prejudicial abuse of discretion at the hearing?; and
    • Was there any evidence that was improperly excluded at the hearing?

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