2. Receiving the written letter of expulsion
When you receive written notice that the school is thinking about expelling your child and that it is holding a manifestation determination review, you should attend this meeting. You can prevent a school expulsion hearing by persuading the Individualized Education Program (IEP) team that your child’s behavior stems from their disability. You can argue that your child’s behavior was because of your child’s disability. Or you can argue that your child’s behavior was because of the school’s failure to implement your child’s IEP.
If the school decides that your child’s misconduct does not stem from their disability at the manifestation determination review, you can appeal the decision by requesting a due process hearing.
3. Expulsion hearing
If the school decides to expel your child after the manifestation determination review, the school must hold an expulsion hearing so you can tell your child’s side of the story. At the hearing, you can:
- Have a lawyer present
- Bring witnesses
- Cross-examine the school’s witnesses
- Give reasons why you believe your child should not be expelled.
- Even if your child committed the misconduct, at the hearing you can give reasons why you believe your child should not be expelled. Before expelling a student, a school district must at least consider a number of factors. At the hearing, you can:
Have your child tell their side of the story;
- Argue that your child’s misconduct was not bad enough to deserve expulsion;
- Argue that your child should not be expelled because your child has had no history of misconduct at school;
- Argue that your child’s misconduct did not disrupt the education of other students;
- Argue that expulsion is too severe;
- Argue that expulsion is not in the best interests of your child.
4. The school decides to expel your child
If the school decides to expel your child at the expulsion hearing, you can appeal the decision by requesting a due process hearing or by going to state court. Please consult a lawyer about how to file an appeal in state court.
If the school places your child in an interim alternative educational setting, you also have the right to appeal the school’s decision by asking for an expedited due process hearing.
If you appeal, your child will stay at the other school until the hearing officer makes a decision. However, your child cannot stay at the other school for more than 45 school days even if it takes the hearing officer longer to make a decision, unless you and the State or local educational agency agree otherwise.
The school may want to keep your child in the interim alternative educational setting or send your child to another school after the 45 school days end. If you disagree, the school must send your child back to your child’s first school unless the school thinks it is too dangerous there for your child.
If the school thinks it is too dangerous to send your child back to the school, it must ask for an expedited due process hearing. The hearing would happen within 20 school days of the hearing request. The school would have to persuade an independent hearing officer that returning your child to their old school would be very likely to result in injury to your child or others. The hearing officer must make a decision within 10 school days after the end of the hearing.
If your child attends a public school in Chicago, at the expulsion hearing, you can ask that they go to the SMART program instead of being expelled