Date: August 1, 2018
From: Dawn Urbanek
To: CUSD Trustees
Re: Open Letter to CUSD Trustees re: Mandatory Expulsions
In response to an article that I wrote in July 25, 2018 Entitled "Increased Drug Activity, School Shootings and Violence on Campus May Be the Result of Lax School District Policies that Violate California Law." I received the following letter from Ryan Burris:
In light of State policy which favor the release of prisoners from our jails, and the decriminalization of most felonies there has also been a progressive trend in our public education system to lower expulsion and suspension rates even when State law calls for "Mandatory" expulsion of students for specific violations.
CUSD is either not following mandatory expulsion guidelines, or has coding errors in reporting data to CDE. In my article I took the data as reported to CDE to illustrate that it does not appear that CUSD is following State Law when it comes to expelling students.
Source: CDE: California Compilation of School Discipline Laws and Regulations January 26, 2018
Grounds for mandatory suspension or expulsion
(c) The principal or superintendent [not a designee] of schools shall immediately suspend, pursuant to Section 48911, and shall recommend expulsion of a pupil that he or she determines has committed any of the following acts at school or at a school activity off school grounds:
(1) Possessing, selling, or otherwise furnishing a firearm. This subdivision does not apply to an act of possessing a firearm if the pupil had obtained prior written permission to possess the firearm from a certificated school employee, which is concurred in by the principal or the designee of the principal. This California Compilation of School Discipline Laws and Regulations Page 27 subdivision applies to an act of possessing a firearm only if the possession is verified by an employee of a school district. The act of possessing an imitation firearm, as defined in subdivision (m) of Section 48900, is not an offense for which suspension or expulsion is mandatory pursuant to this subdivision and subdivision (d), but it is an offense for which suspension, or expulsion pursuant to subdivision (e), may be imposed.
(2) Brandishing a knife at another person.
(3) Unlawfully selling a controlled substance listed in Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 11053) of Division 10 of the Health and Safety Code.
(4) Committing or attempting to commit a sexual assault as defined in subdivision (n) of Section 48900 or committing a sexual battery as defined in subdivision (n) of Section 48900.
(5) Possession of an explosive
This is the rule of law and it is not open for CUSD Staff interpretation. There are special circumstances as provide below:
Limitations, conditions or exclusions for use of suspension and expulsion
A pupil shall not be suspended from school or recommended for expulsion, unless the superintendent of the school district or the principal of the school in which the pupil is enrolled determines that the pupil has committed an act as defined pursuant to any of subdivisions (a) to (r), inclusive:
(t) A pupil who aids or abets, as defined in Section 31 of the Penal Code, the infliction or attempted infliction of physical injury to another person may be subject to suspension, but not expulsion, pursuant to this section, except that a pupil who has been adjudged by a juvenile court to have committed, as an aider and abettor, a crime of physical violence in which the victim suffered great bodily injury or serious bodily injury shall be subject to discipline pursuant to subdivision (a).
(w) It is the intent of the Legislature that alternatives to suspension or expulsion be imposed against a pupil who is truant, tardy, or otherwise absent from school activities.
For the purposes of this chapter, the conduct described in Section 212.5 must be considered by a reasonable person of the same gender as the victim to be sufficiently severe or pervasive to have a negative impact upon the individual’s academic performance or to create an intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational environment. This section shall not apply to pupils enrolled in kindergarten and grades 1 to 3, inclusive.
(a) Except as provided in subdivision (g) of Section 48911 and in Section 48912, the total number of days for which a pupil may be suspended from school shall not exceed 20 schooldays in any school year, unless for purposes of adjustment, a pupil enrolls in or is transferred to another regular school, an California Compilation of School Discipline Laws and Regulations Page 28 opportunity school or class, or a continuation education school or class, in which case the total number of schooldays for which the pupil may be suspended shall not exceed 30 days in any school year.
(b) For the purposes of this section, a school district may count suspensions that occur while a pupil is enrolled in another school district toward the maximum number of days for which a pupil may be suspended in any school year.
(a) The principal of the school, the principal's designee, or the district superintendent of schools may suspend a pupil from the school for any of the reasons enumerated in Section 48900, and pursuant to Section 48900.5, for no more than five consecutive schooldays.
The site principal of a contracting nonpublic, nonsectarian school providing services to individuals with exceptional needs under Sections 56365 and 56366, shall have the same duties and responsibilities with respect to the suspension of pupils with previously identified exceptional needs prescribed for the suspension of pupils under Section 48911.
The governing board of a school district may suspend a pupil enrolled in a continuation school or class for a period not longer than the remainder of the semester if any of the acts enumerated in Section 48900 occurred. The suspension shall meet the requirements of Section 48915.
If the governing board of a school district has established a community day school pursuant to Section 48661 on the same site as a comprehensive middle, junior, or senior high school, or at any elementary school, the governing board does not have to meet the condition in paragraph (2) of subdivision (d) of Section 48915 when the board, pursuant to subdivision (f) of Section 48915, refers a pupil to a program of study and that program of study is at the community day school. All the other conditions of subdivision (d) of Section 48915 are applicable to the referral as required by subdivision (f) of Section 48915.
(a) An individual with exceptional needs, as defined in Section 56026, may be suspended or expelled from school in accordance with Section 1415(k) of Title 20 of the United States Code, the discipline provisions contained in Sections 300.530 to 300.537, inclusive, of Title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations, and other provisions of this part that do not conflict with federal law and regulations.
(b) A free appropriate public education for individuals with exceptional needs suspended or expelled from school shall be in accordance with Section 1412(a)(1) of Title 20 of the United States Code and Section 300.530(d) of Title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations.
(c) If an individual with exceptional needs is excluded from schoolbus transportation, the pupil is entitled to be provided with an alternative form of transportation at no cost to the pupil or parent or guardian provided that transportation is specified in the pupil’s individualized education program.
(d) If the individual with exceptional needs is a foster child, as defined in Section 48853.5, and the local educational agency has proposed a change of placement due to an act for which a decision to recommend expulsion is at the discretion of the principal or the district superintendent of schools, the attorney for the individual with exceptional needs and an appropriate representative of the county child welfare agency shall be invited to participate in the individualized education program team meeting that makes a manifestation determination pursuant to Section 1415(k) of Title 20 of the United States Code. The invitation may be made using the most cost-effective method possible, which may include, but is not limited to, electronic mail or a telephone call.
(e) If the individual with exceptional needs is a homeless child or youth, as defined in Section 11434a(2) of Title 42 of the United States Code, and the local educational agency has proposed a change of placement due to an act for which a decision to recommend expulsion is at the discretion of the principal or the district superintendent of schools, the local educational agency liaison for homeless children and youth designated pursuant to Section 11432(g)(1)(J)(ii) of Title 42 of the United States Code shall be invited to participate in the individualized education program team meeting that makes a manifestation determination pursuant to Section 1415(k) of Title 20 of the United States Code. The invitation may be made using the most cost-effective method possible, which may include, but is not limited to, electronic mail or a telephone call.
In addition to the above resource CDE has an Administrator Recommendation of Expulsion Matrix
Column one is "MANDATORY EXPULSION"
In light of recent and increased events on school campuses, the Public has a right to know if school districts are following state law and removing students who pose a risk to others by ensuring that these students are removed from campus. Alternatives like Florida's Promise Program, and CUSDs' MTSS are not appropriate remedies when dealing with conduct mentioned in Ed Code Section 48915(c).
The data needs to be reported accurately and must be corrected. Staff cannot mix conduct covered by Ed Code Section 48915(c) and Ed Code 489100.
The Orange County Office of Education provides School Discipline Guidelines
The following was the Data for Capistrano Unified on Data Quest
DATA FOR THE CAPISTRANO UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT