Suspensions & Expulsions
At the Law Offices of James G. Schwartz, we represent children and adults who face suspension or expulsion from school or dismissal from an academic program. In some instances, disciplinary action is due to actions the student has taken; in other instances, it is the result of unfair application of rules or a simple unwillingness to try more reasonable means of discipline.
Our Pleasanton, California, school suspension lawyers have extensive experience handling suspension and expulsion cases, including suspension from athletic programs. We advise students and parents of their legal rights and represent them in hearings and appeals before school boards, school administrations, or college departments. Our law firm represents juvenile and adult students in the San Francisco Bay Area, Alameda County, Contra Costa County and across Northern California.Elementary/Junior/Senior High School Suspension and Expulsion
Everyone makes mistakes — particularly young people who are easily swayed by peers and who may not understand the serious, long-term consequences of their actions. Students can face suspension or expulsion for a wide range of behavior, including actions that can easily be misinterpreted. Some actions that have resulted in students facing a hearing for suspension or expulsion include:
- Carrying a lighter
- Having cigarettes on their person
- Fighting or arguing with another student
- Fighting or arguing with a teacher
- Carrying an object school administrators considered to be a weapon
- A gun in a student's car
- Possession of legal or illegal drugs
- Sexual assault
The Hearing Process: As specified in the Education Code of California which governspublic schools, a student facing disciplinary action will be asked to appear before a hearing panel composed of principals and vice principals from other schools or, in some cases, the student will go directly to a hearing before the Board of Education. Private schools have their own rules and procedures, which can be found in the contract that parents signed when enrolling their student in the school.
Schools operate differently than courts in that decision-makers may deliver judgments against students based on hearsay and implication rather than investigation and facts. When students and parents have assistance from a lawyer at these hearings, it is often possible to achieve a better deliberative process and a fairer outcome. If disciplinary action is required, other options may be available, rather than the extreme response of suspension or expulsion.
The Appeals Process: If the outcome of your initial hearing is not satisfactory, you may have other options for appeal. You may be able to appeal to the private school's Board of Trustees or, if you went before a public school hearing committee, you may be able to take your case to the Board of Education. If your case was heard by the Board of Education, you have no further opportunities for appeal.Dismissal From Academic Programs or From College
The most common reasons for wrongful dismissal from college programs or from universities are academic cheating, under-performance, and in some cases, criminal charges. If you want to fight your suspension from an academic program, our attorney will review the appeals process at your school, helping you bring your case before the appropriate committee or governing body. Each department and each college will have its own process and public and private schools will differ somewhat.
School Fraud: Recently we represented a client bringing a case for wrongful dismissal from a private college when, in fact, the school was involved in potentially fraudulent actions. A large number of private schools have opened recently, reaping huge profits from student loans but failing to graduate students from the program, or to prepare students for professional examinations required for their field. While the Department of Education is reviewing the situation, some students who feel they were defrauded by these private colleges are seeking legal action. If you are in a situation where you suspect a school has acted in an illegal manner, lied about graduation rates, placement rates or financial aid, we can advise you about your options. We handle such cases on an hourly fee basis.
Contact a Bay Area expulsion hearing lawyer at the Law Offices of James G. Schwartz for a consultation.