Ambra Dorsey, J.D.
1350 M Street, Building A
Peggy Blair and Debby Watts - Technicians
The primary role of the Student Discipline Office is to guide the process of expulsion when such a measure becomes necessary to promote the safety and well being of students within the Fresno Unified School District.
Our primary concern is making sure that parents and students have a full understanding of their rights and responsibilities, should a disciplinary action resulting in a recommendation for expulsion be pending against them.
This web page is intended to provide you with general information and to help you access more specific information as it relates to the education code or district policy.
In order to assist you with understanding the discipline process, we have collected the most commonly asked questions and responses as a quick reference for understanding the discipline process.
Where can I find a list of the suspendable and/or expellable offenses?
Look at California Education Code, Sections 48900, 48900.2, 48900.3, 48900.4, 48900.7, and 48915
What types of offenses must result in a recommendation for expulsion? ( Ed Code 48915 )
1. Possessing, selling, or otherwise furnishing a firearm
With all other offenses listed under California Ed. Code, Section 48900, it is within the discretion of the superintendent or principal to determine whether or not a recommendation for expulsion is appropriate.
What does zero tolerance mean?
If an offense listed under the district's zero tolerance policy is committed, then that student will be immediately suspended and recommended for expulsion unless the circumstances of the case demonstrate that expulsion would be inappropriate. The offenses listed under the current policy are:
* Assault/battery of a student or school employee
What happens if my child is recommended for expulsion?
He/she will be suspended for 5 school days.
On the 5th day, the parent and student will have a meeting in the Student Discipline Office where the entire process of expulsion, the charges against the student and his/her rights will be explained. The following options will be discussed:
1. having an expulsion hearing where the school district will have the burden of proving the allegations against the child, or (If they elect to have a hearing, it must take place within 30 school days from the time of suspension unless a continuance is requested. Homework may be requested from the referring school site during this period of extended suspension.)
The original five day suspension may be extended up to another 25 additional school days if it is determined that returning the student to school would either:
1. present a danger to persons or property, or
During this period of extended suspension, the student should not be on or around any school campus, before, during, or after school, or at school related activities of events.
What happens if I elect to have a hearing?
The Parent/Guardian will be notified of the hearing date by certified mail at least ten days prior to the hearing. Should they wish to postpone the hearing date, a written request to postpone must be presented at least five days prior to the hearing date to the Student Discipline Office.
At the hearing, there will be a representative of the district who will facilitate the process, a three member certificated administrative panel who will hear the case, the parent/guardian and student and /or representative. You may retain an attorney or representative if you like, but the process is not set up to require an attorney.
The burden is on the school district to bring in witnesses and present evidence to support the allegations against the student. The parent/guardian and student will be able to ask questions of the witnesses, tell his/her side of the story, and present any evidence on his/her behalf. Any witnesses under the age of eighteen will require their parent's written permission to testify.
The panel will listen to all evidence presented and decide whether it supports a recommendation for expulsion. The recommendation of the panel will go the Board of Education at their next meeting and be reviewed in closed session. It may be accepted, rejected, or modified by the Board. The parent will then be notified of the final decision.
Should there be any feeling that a student's rights have been violated under the conditions listed in California Education Code, Section 48923, parent/guardian may appeal the expulsion to the County Office of Education within 30 calendar days of the decision to expel the student. The appeal to the County Office of Education is based solely on the content of the transcript from the expulsion hearing.
What happens if I elect to sign a waiver?
If the parent/guardian agrees that his/her child behaved essentially in the manner stated in the charges and that such behavior constitutes a violation of the California Education Code Sections 48900, 48900.2, 48900.3, 48900.4, 48900.7 and /or 48915, a suspendable or expellable offense, the parent /guardian may request to waive the hearing panel.
When the parent agrees to waive the administrative hearing panel, also waived are all notification and time lines related to the expulsion hearing process, the right to confront witnesses, present evidence, and the right to appeal. The waiver findings will include the length and conditions of the expulsion, as well as additional recommendations.
The signed waiver agreement and findings of fact will be presented to the Board of Education for their approval at their next meeting. They have the discretionary power to accept, reject, or modify all recommendations.
Does my child receive an education while on expulsion?
Yes. In California the law specifies that every child is entitled to an education, even those who have been expelled.
If expelled from the district, a child is provided the opportunity to continue with his/her education through the Phoenix Community Day School Program for children in grades 2 - 6, or the County Office of Education Community Day School Program for children in grades 7 - 12.
A child does not have to attend one of these programs, therefore, a parent/guardian may elect to pursue enrollment in any type of educational program, i.e charter schools, private schools, etc. The district does not refer to these programs, but may be able to provide helpful information. However, it is important to note that a child be in an educational program of some kind during the term of expulsion.
If a child is placed on suspended expulsion, then they will still be eligible to attend a district program during the period of suspended expulsion. During this period of suspended expulsion, he/she must maintain good grades, attendance and behavior or his/her suspended expulsion may be revoked by the school district.
Is expulsion forever?
No. Depending upon the offense committed, the maximum amount of time your child may be expelled is for one calendar year, but often it is for a much shorter period of time.
At the end of a child's period of expulsion, he/she is eligible for readmission to the school district. The family will receive written notice of the need to schedule an appointment for readmission at which time they will again appear before a three member panel. The family will be expected to show evidence to the panel of good attendance, grades and behavior while at an alternative educational setting during the period of expulsion, as well as the completion of any other recommendations attached to the expulsion, i.e. proof of the completion of recommended services such as counseling.
If the conditions of expulsion were met by a child, then they will be readmitted to a district program other than that from which they were expelled.
What if my child receives special education services or has a 504 plan?
Within 10 days of the suspension and recommendation for expulsion the school district must conduct a manifestation determination process to determine whether the student's qualifying disability was related to the behavior that resulted in the disciplinary action.