Tuesday, July 2, 2019
Summertime Expulsion Timelines- How Long Can A District Wait To Hold A Summer Expulsion Hearing And The Hearing Still Be Legal?
By Michelle Ball, California Education Attorney for Students since 1995
Have you ever wondered if your child may escape expulsion if he or she does something just before summer vacation? Maybe they can skate by and the discipline will be forgotten? What are the timelines during summer break?
Most parents probably think that if a child does something expellable 5 days before school ends that any discipline hearing will not be held until the fall semester, months later. Not so, at least not if the hearing is legal. Per California Education Code §48918(a) expulsion hearings must be held within 30 schooldays.
But aren't there no schooldays during the summer? Good question.
(c) “Schoolday” means a day upon which the schools of the district are in session or weekdays during the summer recess. [emphasis added]
What this means is, although school may end on May 25, the "schooldays" for purposes of expulsion hearing timelines are still running Monday- Friday during the summer. This count would likely exclude any major holiday such as July Fourth.
So, no expulsion hearing will wait until the fall semester if the act occurred the prior school year, at least not without a parent waiver or the student being in a year round school.
This can be positive for the student as Districts can miss summer timelines and be forced to drop an expulsion recommendation. Administrators may also have limited summer staff they don't want to pull away from summer break for a hearing, so may be slightly more willing to make a deal. This is not always the case, but we can all hope.
Much of the time, alert district administrators are aware of the summer issues. However, if a parent is also alert, and calculates the time, finding that the hearing was not convened timely (e.g. it was convened after 30 "schooldays"), that parent may then stop the hearing from proceeding at all. If the district moves forward regardless, this error could give a parent the right to appeal and overturn any discipline that results from the untimely expulsion hearing.
So, if your kid did something at the end of last schoolyear and is facing an expulsion hearing in the fall, or late summer, you may want to check your calendars and count the days to see if maybe the expulsion hearing is now untimely, and even better, illegal for the district to pursue.
Education Law Attorney
LAW OFFICE OF MICHELLE BALL
717 K Street, Suite 228
Sacramento, CA 95814
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