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What state law has to say about suspensions and expulsions -- III

Back in December, our blog began discussing how even though the natural inclination of most parents is to defer to school officials when it comes to disciplinary matters, they should strongly reconsider this approach when it's suspension or expulsion that's being pursued.

That's because not only is so much at stake for the child, but also because there's always the possibility that school officials will fail to follow applicable rules and regulations.

In light of this reality, we started looking at what exactly the law had to say concerning suspensions. We'll take these efforts one step further in today's post by taking a closer look at what the law has to say concerning expulsions.  

When can a school pursue expulsion?

Florida law dictates that the principal or their designee may recommend expulsion as an option to the district school superintendent when the student has committed a "serious breach of conduct."

Certain criminal convictions also present grounds for expulsion.

What constitutes a "serious breach of conduct?"

Actions defined as a "serious breach of conduct," include willful disobedience, open defiance of authority of a staff member, violence against persons or property, or any other act substantially disrupting the orderly conduct of the school.

What about scenarios when the student is accused of making false and damaging allegations?

State law dictates that either assignment to a second chance school or expulsion are on the table if a student is discovered to have intentionally made false statements that endanger the professional certification, employment and/or professional reputation of a teacher or staff member.

What happens after the recommendation for expulsion is made?

If the principal or their designee recommends expulsion, they must supplement their action with a detailed report outlining any and all alternative measures taken prior to this step.

Should the district school superintendent agree with the recommendation, the affected student and their parents must be provided with written notice outlining the charges and their rights going forward.

While the process varies between school districts, expulsion is always a more formal undertaking than suspension. Indeed, the student is entitled to a hearing, the ability to secure legal representation and the right to cross-examine any witnesses.  

Here's hoping our discussion on this matter has proven helpful. Remember to consider speaking with a skilled legal professional as soon as possible if your child has been threatened with suspension or expulsion.

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