6.3.6 Expulsion Regulations and Procedures

Expulsion Regulations and Procedures

You can download the Know Your Rights Brochure summarizing this information.

Expulsion Chart (CA Education Code 48915)

Mandatory Suspension and Expulsion Referral

California State Education Code mandates that any students who commit the following offenses be immediately suspended from school and referred for expulsion: 

  • Possessing, selling, or furnishing a firearm.  This section applies to possession of a firearm only if the possession is verified by an employee of a school district (possession of an imitation firearm does not require mandatory suspension/expulsion, but may form the basis of a discretionary suspension or expulsion)  – CA Education Code 48915 (c)(1).
  • Brandishing a knife at another person – CA Education Code 48915 (c)(2).
  • Unlawfully selling a controlled substance – CA Education Code 48915(c)(3).
  • Committing or attempting to commit sexual assault or sexual battery – CA Education Code 48915 (c)(4) & 48900 (n).
  • Possession of an explosive – CA Education Code 48915 (c)(5). 

Upon a finding that the student committed one of the offenses above, the Board shall order the student expelled for one year from the date of the expulsion. 

Quasi-Mandatory Expulsion Referral (Unless Principal Determines Inappropriate)

California State Education Code mandates that any students who commit the following offenses must be referred for expulsion unless the principal determines that expulsion should not be recommended under the circumstances or that an alternative means of correction would address the conduct: 

  • Caused serious physical injury to another person, except in self-defense – CA Education Code 48915 (a)(1)(A).
  • Possession of any knife or other dangerous object of no reasonable use to the student – CA Education Code 48915 (a)(1)(B).
  • Unlawful possession of any controlled substance (except for the first offense for possession of not more than an ounce of marijuana, other than concentrated cannabis, or the possession of over-the-counter medication for use by the student for medical purposes or medication prescribed for the student by a physician) – CA Education Code 48915 (a)(1)(C).
  • Robbery or extortion – CA Education Code48915 (a)(1)(D) & 48900 (e).
  • Assault or battery upon any school employee – CA Education Code 48915 (a)(1)(E).

A decision to expel for one of these offenses must be based on a finding of one or both of the following:

  1. Other means of correction are not feasible or have failed to bring about proper conduct; or
  2. Due to the nature of the act, the presence of the student causes a continuing danger to the physical safety of the student or others.

Discretionary Expulsion Referral

Expulsion referrals for all other offenses listed in CA Education Code Section 48900, 48900.2, 48900.3, 48900.4, 48900.7, may be made at the principal’s discretion. However, a student cannot be referred for expulsion or expelled solely on the basis of CA Education Code 48900(k).

A decision to expel for one of these offenses must be based on a finding of one or both of the following:

  1. Other means of correction are not feasible or have failed to bring about proper conduct; or
  2. Due to the nature of the act, the presence of the student causes a continuing danger to the physical safety of the student or others.

Expulsion Hearing Process 

A.  Hearing Date: 

  The expulsion hearing shall be held within thirty (30) school days of the date that the principal or the superintendent determines that the student has committed any acts that require expulsion.

  1. The student, parent/guardian/caregiver are entitled to one (1) postponement not to exceed thirty (30) calendar days upon written notice from the parent/guardian/caregiver.
  2. If parent/guardian/caregiver/student does not respond to notice requesting an expulsion hearing, the hearing may be held irrespective whether the student, parent/guardian/caregiver chooses to attend.

B.  Notice of Hearing: 

Written notice of the hearing shall be forwarded to the student at least 10 calendar days prior to the date of the hearing. 

The notice will include:

  1. Date and place of hearing.
  2. Statement of the specific facts and charges upon which the proposed expulsion is based.
  3. Copy of the disciplinary rules of the district which relates to the alleged violation.
  4. The opportunity for the student, the parent/guardian/caregiver to appear in person or employ and be represented by an attorney.  Parent/guardian/caregiver may also designate a representative (a relative, friend, or community agency personnel) to be present at the hearing to advocate on their behalf.
  5. The opportunity to inspect and obtain copies of all documents to be used at the hearing.
  6. Confront and question all witnesses who testify at the hearing and to question all evidence presented.
  7. Student may present oral and written evidence, including witnesses.
  8. Inform the student and parent/guardian of their obligation to notify future school districts of an expulsion per CA Education Code 48915.1(b).
  9. If the student is a foster youth or homeless youth being referred for a non-mandatory offense, the District must inform the student’s attorney and child welfare agency representative (for foster youth) or Homeless Youth Liaison (for homeless youth) of the hearing 10 calendar days prior to the hearing date.  The notice may be provided by mail, email or telephone call.  This notice also may be provided to the student’s attorney/child welfare agency representative/homeless liaison for mandatory offenses.

C. Rights of Complaining Witness (CA Education Code 48918.5)

An expulsion hearing involving allegations of sexual assault or sexual battery may be postponed for one school day in order to accommodate the special physical, mental, or emotional needs of a student who is the complaining witness.

In expulsion hearings that address allegations of sexual assault or sexual battery, the complaining witness shall be provided with a copy of the district's suspension and expulsion policy and regulation and shall advise the witness of their right to:

  1. Receive five days' notice of their scheduled testimony at the hearing
  2. Have up to two adult support persons of their choosing present at the hearing at the time they testifies
  3. Have a closed hearing during the time they testifies

During the hearing there shall be a room separate from the hearing room for the use of the complaining witness prior to and during breaks in testimony. The person conducting the hearing may: (1) allow reasonable periods of relief from examination and cross-examination during which the witness may leave the hearing room; (2) arrange the seating within the hearing room of those present in order to facilitate a less intimidating environment for the complaining witness; (3) limit the time for taking the testimony of a complaining witness to the hours they are normally in school, if there is no good cause to take the testimony during other hours; and (4) permit one of the complaining witness's support persons to accompany him or her to the witness stand.

The complaining witnesses and accused student shall be advised to refrain from personal or telephone contact with each other during the time when an expulsion process is pending. (CA Education Code 48918.5)

D. Upon completion of the expulsion hearing:

  1. Parent/guardian/caregiver and student will be notified within three (3) school days as to the decision reached by the Administrative Panel.  The Administrative Panel does not make the final decision about whether to expel, but they do provide a recommendation to the Board of Education about whether or not the student should be expelled.
  2. If the Administrative Panel decides not to recommend expulsion, the expulsion proceeding shall be terminated and the student shall be immediately reinstated and permitted to return to the classroom instructional program from which the referral was made, unless another placement is requested in writing by the student's parent/guardian. Before the student's placement decision is made by their parent/guardian, the Superintendent or designee shall consult with the parent/guardian and district staff, including the student's teachers, regarding other placement options for the student in addition to the option to return to the classroom instructional program from which the student's expulsion referral was made. The decision to not recommend expulsion shall be final.
  3. If the Administrative Panel recommends that the student be expelled, the student will receive an assignment to a county community school or other appropriate program as part of the recommendation to the Board of Education. 
  4. Within 40 school days of the student’s initial removal from school for the incident for which the expulsion referral was made, the Board of Education shall decide whether to expel the student based on the recommendation of the Administrative Panel, unless the student requests in writing that the decision be postponed.
  5. If the student and parent/guardian/caregiver wish to speak to the Board before they make their final decision about whether to expel, they will have the opportunity to do so at the public comment portion of the closed session of the Board of Education on the Thursday before a regularly scheduled meeting on the second or fourth Tuesday of the month.  However, the Board of Education will not rehear the case. 

Expulsion Appeals

Expulsions may be appealed within 30 calendar days following the date of the board’s final action to expel the student. See SFUSD Board Policy 1312.3 for details. See Forms in chapter 7.12: Uniform Complaint Process/Complaint Form:  Expulsion Appeals.

In appeals of an expulsion decision, the compliance officer will collect the expulsion packet and evidence documents, transcript and Board decision.  The complainant shall provide information to support their challenge under one or more of the criteria of CA Education Code 48922 and the District shall provide responsive relevant information.  The complainant shall pay for the expulsion transcript unless the parent or guardian certifies that s/he cannot reasonably afford the cost of the transcript because of limited income or exceptional necessary expenses, or both.  (CA Education Code 48921) 

The District shall provide the transcript and records to the compliance officer within 10 schooldays.  Within 20 schooldays of receiving an expulsion appeal complaint, the compliance officer shall set a date to meet with the complainant to hear reasons in support of the appeal; and shall also meet with the district representative to follow up on appeal criteria that have been identified by the complainant. The written report of the investigation and decision for expulsion appeals shall be sent within 23 school days of the district’s receipt of the complaint.

Readmission after Completion of Expulsion

  • A.   An expelled student will be reassigned to a district school after having completed the term of expulsion. A conference will be held with the parent/guardian/caregiver, student, and Pupil Services staff prior to reassignment to a district school.  This conference will be Restorative in nature and will be the first step in reintegrating the student into a new school community. 
  • B.   The Board of Education’s rules and regulations concerning readmission procedures may include a rehabilitation plan for the student, including recommendations for counseling, employment, community service, or rehabilitative programs.  Upon assessment of the student’s progress under such a rehabilitation plan, the Board may decide not to readmit the student.


This page was last updated on August 19, 2022