Thursday, March 3, 2011

Offenses Where a Recommendation for School Suspension or Expulsion is Discretionary

By Michelle Ball, California Education Attorney for Students since 1995

I previously blogged about offenses which do not give California school districts any discretion on whether to recommend and/or actually expel a student.  However, there is a whole laundry list of other school offenses for which a school district is not required to suspend or expel.  In fact, rather than suspending or expelling a student who commits one of the below offenses, a district can implement other punishment which may actually serve the student and student body better.

This is the BIG LIST of discretionary offenses for which a student MAY BE RECOMMENDED FOR EXPULSION and MAY BE EXPELLED in California.  Suspension and expulsion are not mandatory for the below situations:

1)  Caused attempted or threatened to cause physical injury.
2)  Willful force or violence on another except in self-defense.
3)  First offense of possession of less than one ounce of marijuana
4)  Under the influence of a controlled substance (unless they count this as possession which carries a mandatory recommendation).
5) Possessed, used, or sold alcohol.
6)  Offering, arranging or negotiating to sell a controlled substance, alcohol,or  intoxicant and delivering a substitute material, representing it as the item.
7) Damage/attempt to damage property
8)  Stealing (but robbery- e.g. stealing with force carries a mandatory recommendation)
9)  Tobacco/nicotine product possession
10)  Obscene act (so long as not sexual assault/battery) or habitual profanity/vulgarity.
11)  Possession, negotiation or sales of drug paraphernalia
12)  Disruption or willful defiance (this is the "catch all" offense)
13)  Knowing receipt of stolen property.
14)  Possession of imitation firearm.
15)  Harassment, threats or intimidation against student witness to prevent testimony or retaliate
16)  Attempt to engage in or engaging in hazing
17)  Bullying including by an electronic act directed specifically toward a pupil or school personnel.
18)  Sexual harassment
19)  Caused or attempted to cause hate violence (grades 4-12)
21)  Intentional harassment, threats or intimidation (grades 4-12)
22)  Terroristic threats (e.g. threats to commit a crime)

This is an abbreviated version of California Education Code sections starting at section 48900.

With these offenses, it is completely up to the school or district's DISCRETION whether to proceed with suspension OR expulsion or... nothing.  However, just because they don't carry mandated expulsion recommendations in the Education Code does not mean school districts do not put kids up for expulsion for any or all of the above.  They do, and they often put them up under more than one category.

Michelle Ball
Education Law Attorney
717 K Street, Suite 228
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: 916-444-9064
Fax: 916-444-1209
Please see my disclaimer on the bottom of my blog page []. This is legal information, not legal advice and no attorney-client relationship is formed by this posting, etc. etc.!  This blog may not be reproduced without permission from the author and proper attribution of authorship.

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