The school will discipline your child if it thinks that he or she
- broke a rule,
- makes it hard for others to learn, or
- makes the school unsafe.
As a result, your child may be
- removed from the classroom,
- given an in-school or out-of-school suspension, or
- expelled from school.
Remember! A school can’t make you pick your child up from school unless he or she has been suspended.
Check your school handbook for more information about school discipline and your child’s rights.
Suspension is when your child is removed from the classroom for longer than 90 minutes. The longest one suspension can last is 10 days.
The school must notify you within 24 hours that your child has been suspended. Your child has the right to get homework assignments and make up all missed work and tests during a suspension. Ask the school for this work so that your child can keep up with the class.
Expulsion is much more serious than a suspension. An expulsion is when your child is removed from the classroom for more than 10 days. An expulsion can last for up to 180 school days.Try to get legal help for your child right away. If you cannot afford a lawyer, call Statewide Legal Services at 1-800-453-3320.
The school may try to expel your child if he or she
- endangers people or property,
- disrupts the school, or
- breaks an important behavior or safety rule (check your school’s handbook for a list of these rules).
The school must try to expel your child if he or she
- brings a dangerous weapon to school or to a school function,
- tries to sell illegal drugs on or off school grounds, or
- uses a deadly weapon to commit a crime off school grounds.
If the school tries to expel your child, there will be an expulsion hearing.
You have the right to bring a lawyer with you to the expulsion hearing to defend your child’s rights.
If criminal charges are brought against your child because of what he or she did, it is very important for you to get a public defender or a private lawyer right away.
For more information on expulsion and your child’s legal rights, read the legal aid article about School Expulsion.
Discipline for special education students
Special education students have extra protections when it comes to school discipline. If a special education student is suspended for more than 10 days in a school year, the school must hold a Planning and Placement Team (PPT) meeting.
A special education student cannot be expelled if
- his or her disability caused the behavior, or
- the behavior was because the school did not implement (carry out) the Individualized Education Plan (IEP).
TIP: A special education student who is expelled has a right to all of the education services listed in his or her IEP, even if he or she is placed in another program.
For more information about the rights of special education students, read the legal aid article about Special Education.