School Expulsion

School expulsion is a disciplinary action taken by school administrators against a student for misconduct. Expulsion usually results in the student being removed from the school system. School expulsion hearings are similar to courtroom proceedings. The party calling for the expulsion, usually the principal, will present evidence before the school board or an education board representative. The student has a right to have an attorney defend him/her. Then the school board or representative will act as judge and jury to determine if expulsion is the best course or if a different punishment will better suit the issue.

Expulsion Proceedings

All school districts must write a school discipline code outlining offenses that could lead to expulsion, including compounded or one-time qualifying offenses. In Connecticut, the child must be put before the Board of Education’s hearing officer who will listen to reports about the incident and make a decision to expel and for how long to expel.

A student may face expulsion proceedings if she/he:

Violates a school rule on school grounds or at a school activity
Acts in a way that is disruptive or endangers other people or property on school grounds or at a school activity
Violates a school rule off school grounds and is “seriously disruptive of the educational process.”
A student must face expulsion proceedings if she/he:

Possesses a gun or other deadly weapon on school grounds or at a school activity
Uses a firearm or other deadly weapon to commit a crime off school grounds
Sells or attempts to sell illegal drugs, on or off school grounds
Vigorous Representation of the Student’s Rights

A student has certain rights, no matter the offense that necessitated an expulsion hearing. The student has the:

Right to a Hearing: Except in cases of emergency, when the child may immediately pose a danger to self or others, students have a right to a formal expulsion hearing on or before the 11th school day after he or she has been removed. The hearing may be before three members of the board of education or an appointed “hearing board” of one or more persons.

Right to Notice of Hearing: The student and parents have a right to be notified in advance of the hearing. This notification must explain which rule the student is charged with breaking and what the child specifically did to break the rule.

Right to Documents: The student and parents may obtain, in advance of the hearing, a complete set of all documents that the school will present to the hearing officer. This includes written statements from teachers, witnesses, and other involved parties. Parents may also have access to a copy of the student’s entire school record.

Right to Hire an Attorney: The student will not be appointed counsel but is allowed to retain an attorney to assist with the expulsion proceedings.

Right to Explanation: The student is granted the right to explain their side of the story, including a presentation of evidence such as witness testimony and documents.

Right to Cross Examine: Any witnesses the school provides may be questioned or “cross-examined” by the student or his/her legal counsel.

Rights of Special Education Students: Special accommodations and plans can be made available to special education and disabled students (physically or mentally impaired). For example, disabled students cannot be excluded from participating in federally funded programs or activities, and may be entitled to special protections such as “Section 504 Plan” under the Rehabilitation Act and American with Disabilities Act. Moreover, disciplinary action of special education students may be subject to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, requiring the development of an appropriate, individualized education program.

An experienced expulsion attorney understands you and your child’s rights during the expulsion process and will ensure they are protected. Infringement of these rights may affect the success of the school’s attempt to expel your child. Your lawyer can also investigate whether your child’s civil rights have been violated during discipline before the expulsion hearing process.

Expert Counsel to Build a Strong Case for Your Child

Your expulsion attorney can keep your child from being expelled or lessen the length of time of your child’s expulsion. A lawyer can conduct an investigation and build a case for your child by:

Reviewing the student’s school record
Interviewing the school’s witnesses in advance of the hearing
Locating witnesses to testify for your side
Preparing your child and you to tell your story
Planning a strategy for the hearing
Is your child in the process of being expelled from school?

If your child is about to start the process of an expulsion hearing, an experienced expulsion attorney may be able to prevent the expulsion or lessen the length of expulsion. Contact us for a free consultation to learn more about your rights and options. Fairfield Criminal Defense Attorneys law firm has the resources to begin an investigation immediately on your behalf.