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San Francisco USD |  BP  5144.1  Students

Suspension And Expulsion/Due Process   

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The Board of Education desires to provide district students access to educational opportunities in an orderly school environment that protects their safety and security, ensures their welfare and well-being, and promotes their learning and development. The Board shall develop rules and regulations setting the standards of behavior expected of district students and the disciplinary processes and procedures for addressing violations of those standards, including suspension and/or expulsion.

(cf. 5131 - Conduct)

(cf. 5131.1 - Bus Conduct)

(cf. 5131.2 - Bullying)

The grounds for suspension and expulsion and the procedures for considering, recommending, and/or implementing suspension and expulsion are outlined in this policy and in Board Policy 5144. The Board authorizes the Superintendent to develop administrative regulations consistent with these Board policies and applicable legal requirements.

The administrative staff at each school may develop disciplinary rules to meet the school's particular needs consistent with law, Board policy, and district regulations. The Board, at an open meeting, shall review the approved school discipline rules for consistency with Board policy and state law. Site-level disciplinary rules shall be included in the district's comprehensive safety plan. (Education Code 35291.5, 32282)

(cf. 0450 - Comprehensive Safety Plan)

(cf. 9320 - Meetings and Notices)

Jurisdiction to Suspend or Expel

Except when otherwise permitted by law, a student may be suspended or expelled only when his/her behavior is related to a school activity or school attendance occurring within any district school or another school district, regardless of when it occurs, including, but not limited to, the following: (Education Code 48900(s))

1. While on school grounds

2. While going to or coming from school

3. During the lunch period, whether on or off the school campus

(cf. 5112.5 - Open/Closed Campus)

4. During, going to, or coming from a school-sponsored activity

District staff shall enforce the rules concerning suspension and expulsion of students fairly, consistently, equally, and in accordance with the district's nondiscrimination policies.

(cf. 0410 - Nondiscrimination in District Programs and Activities)


Appropriate Use of Suspension Authority

Suspension, including supervised suspension at school, may be imposed only in the most extreme circumstances when:

* The appropriate identified interventions in the Tiered Behavioral Discipline Matrix have been exhausted and documented in the District data system, and the principal or designee determines that suspension is appropriate; or

* The principal determines that there has been a violation of Education Code 48900(a)-(e) or a danger to persons; or

* The offense requires mandatory suspension and expulsion referral under Education Code 48915(c).

(cf. 1020 - Youth Services)

(cf. 5138 - Conflict Resolution/Peer Mediation)

(cf. 5144 - Discipline)

(cf. 6142.4 - Service Learning/Community Service Classes)

(cf. 6164.2 - Guidance/Counseling Services)

(cf. 6164.5 - Student Success Teams)

Prohibited Suspensions

No Suspension or Expulsion for Disruption/Defiance

No student shall be suspended, recommended for expulsion, or expelled solely on the basis of a 48900(k) offense. For students who are disruptive or willfully defiant, as defined in 48900(k), alternative means of correction shall be used to address the behavior. Alternatives shall reflect proactive and evidence-based interventions for differing levels of defiant or disruptive behavior, including behavior de-escalation support and trauma-sensitive services.

No Suspension or Expulsion for Dress Code Violations

Suspension or expulsion shall not be used as a punishment for the violation of a dress code, head covering policy or uniform policy.

No Suspension for Truancy, Tardiness or Absence

Suspension and expulsion may not be imposed for truancy, tardiness, or absence. Alternatives to suspension or expulsion shall be used with students who are truant, tardy, or otherwise absent from assigned school activities. (Education Code 48900(w))

No Undocumented Suspensions

School staff are prohibited from:

a. Sending a student home before the end of the school day as a disciplinary consequence without complying with all of the requirements for issuing an out-of-school suspension. (Education Code 48900-48911)

b. Removing students from class for one or more class periods, the remainder of a school day, or for more than one school day as a disciplinary consequence without documenting the removal in the District database, notifying the parent, and complying with all required procedures. (Education Code 48910).

c. The Superintendent or designee will develop an administrative regulation to outline the criteria for permissible non-disciplinary dismissals and "permits to leave."

(cf. 5113 - Absences and Excuses)

(cf. 5113.1 - Chronic Absence and Truancy)

On-Campus Suspension

If a teacher suspends a student from class pursuant to Education Code section 48910, consistent in-school options will be available appropriately credentialed intensive supervision, behavioral counseling and completion of schoolwork provided for the duration of the suspension. (Education Code 48911.1)

Counseling Center

To the extent feasible, a student who is serving an out of school suspension shall be allowed to serve the suspension in the SFUSD Counseling Center in lieu of serving the suspension at home.

Re-Entry Conference and Intervention Plans

Every student who is suspended from school shall receive a reentry conference and an intervention plan to be developed with the student and guardian/parent(s) that shall include clear documented behavioral and academic expectations for the student, and any additional services or supports that school staff will provide to assist the student in meeting those expectations. A parent/guardian's failure to participate shall not prevent the student from returning to school after the suspension, nor will it prevent the school and student from holding the conference or developing the intervention plan. (Education Code 48911, 48914)

Appeal of Suspension

Suspensions may be appealed using the procedures and criteria outlined in Education Code 49070, including appeals based on the failure to exhaust identified appropriate alternatives to suspension in the Tiered Behavioral Intervention Matrix. The appeal process and timeline shall be explained on the Suspension Notice issued to parents/students. The Superintendent or designee will develop the specific process and criteria for suspension appeals in an Administrative Regulation.


Authority to Expel

A student may be expelled only by the Board. (Education Code 48918(j))

As required by law, the Superintendent or principal shall recommend expulsion and the Board shall expel any student found to have committed any of the following "mandatory recommendation and mandatory expulsion" acts at school or at a school activity off school grounds: (Education Code 48915)

1. Possessing a firearm which is not an imitation firearm, as verified by a certificated employee, unless the student had obtained prior written permission to possess the item from a certificated school employee, with the principal or designee's concurrence

(cf. 5131.7 - Weapons and Dangerous Instruments)

2. Selling or otherwise furnishing a firearm

3. Brandishing a knife at another person

4. Unlawfully selling a controlled substance listed in Health and Safety Code 11053-11058

5. Committing or attempting to commit a sexual assault as defined in Penal Code 261, 266c, 286, 288, 288a, or 289, or committing a sexual battery as defined in Penal Code 243.4

6. Possessing an explosive as defined in 18 USC 921

For all other violations listed in the accompanying administrative regulation under "Grounds for Suspension and Expulsion: Grades K-12" and "Additional Grounds for Suspension and Expulsion: Grades 4-12," the Superintendent or principal shall have the discretion to recommend expulsion of a student, consistent with the law and Board Policy. If expulsion is recommended, the Board shall order the student expelled only if it makes a finding of either or both of the following: (Education Code 48915(b) and (e))

1. That other means of correction are not feasible or have repeatedly failed to bring about proper conduct

2. That due to the nature of the violation, the presence of the student causes a continuing danger to the physical safety of the student or others

A vote to expel a student shall be taken in a public session.

No student shall be expelled for disruption or willful defiance. (Education Code 48900)

Suspending Enforcement of Expulsion

The Board may vote to suspend the enforcement of the expulsion order pursuant to the requirements of law and the accompanying administrative regulation. (Education Code 48917)

Due Process

The Board shall provide for the fair and equitable treatment of students facing suspension and/or expulsion by affording them their due process rights under the law. The Superintendent or designee shall comply with procedures for notices, hearings, and appeals as specified in law and administrative regulation. (Education Code 48911, 48915, 48915.5, 48918)

(cf. 5119 - Students Expelled from Other Districts)

(cf. 5144.2 - Suspension and Expulsion/Due Process (Students with Disabilities))

Legal Reference:


212.5 Sexual harassment

233 Hate violence

1981-1981.5 Enrollment of students in community school

17292.5 Program for expelled students

32261 Interagency School Safety Demonstration Act of 1985

35145 Open board meetings

35146 Closed sessions (regarding suspensions)

35291 Rules (for government and discipline of schools)

35291.5 Rules and procedures on school discipline

48645.5 Readmission; contact with juvenile justice system

48660-48666 Community day schools

48853.5 Foster youth

48900-48927 Suspension and expulsion

48950 Speech and other communication

48980 Parental notifications

49073-49079 Privacy of student records

52060-52077 Local control and accountability plan


47 Privileged communication

48.8 Defamation liability


1985-1997 Subpoenas; means of production


11455.20 Contempt

54950-54963 Ralph M. Brown Act


11014.5 Drug paraphernalia

11053-11058 Standards and schedules


230.7 Discharge or discrimination against employee for taking time off to appear in school on behalf of a child


31 Principal of a crime, defined

240 Assault defined

241.2 Assault fines

242 Battery defined

243.2 Battery on school property

243.4 Sexual battery

245 Assault with deadly weapon

245.6 Hazing

261 Rape defined

266c Unlawful sexual intercourse

286 Sodomy defined

288 Lewd or lascivious acts with child under age 14

288a Oral copulation

289 Penetration of genital or anal openings

417.27 Laser pointers

422.55 Hate crime defined

422.6 Interference with exercise of civil rights

422.7 Aggravating factors for punishment

422.75 Enhanced penalties for hate crimes

626.2 Entry upon campus after written notice of suspension or dismissal without permission

626.9 Gun-Free School Zone Act of 1995

626.10 Dirks, daggers, knives, razors, or stun guns

868.5 Supporting person; attendance during testimony of witness


729.6 Counseling


921 Definitions, firearm


1415(K) Placement in alternative educational setting

7151 Gun-free schools


11432-11435 Education of homeless children and youths


T.H. v. San Diego Unified School District (2004) 122 Cal. App. 4th 1267

Woodbury v. Dempsey (2003) 108 Cal. App. 4th 421

Board of Education of Sacramento City Unified School District v. Sacramento County Board of Education and Kenneth H. (2001) 85 Cal.App.4th 1321

Garcia v. Los Angeles Board of Education (1991) 123 Cal. App. 3d 807

Fremont Union High School District v. Santa Clara County Board (1991) 235 Cal. App. 3d 1182

John A. v. San Bernardino School District (1982) 33 Cal. 3d 301


84 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 146 (2001)

80 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 348 (1997)

80 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 91 (1997)

80 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 85 (1997)

Management Resources:


Safe Schools: Strategies for Board of Educations to Ensure Student Success, 2011


Dear Colleague Letter on the Nondiscriminatory Administration of School Discipline, January 2014



California Attorney General's Office:

California Department of Education:

U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights:

U.S. Department of Education, Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools:


adopted: June 28, 2016 San Francisco, California