Student Discipline and Expulsion Support
The Novato Unified School District is committed to providing students with a safe, caring, and positive learning environment that supports their social development and academic success. Establishing a positive learning environment begins with schoolwide expectations for student behavior that are consistently communicated, taught, and reinforced by teachers, staff, and administrators.
Teaching and reinforcing appropriate behavior is an essential component of student success. As part of this learning process, it is important for students to experience the consequences of poor choices and inappropriate behavior when they occur. While there are some student behaviors that require immediate suspension and consideration for expulsion, California Education Code 48900 (v) indicates that administrators have the discretion to provide alternatives to suspension or expulsion that are age-appropriate and designed to address and correct the student’s misbehavior. The ultimate goal of school discipline is to help students learn from their mistakes and take responsibility for their own behavior.
Alternatives to Suspension
Alternatives to suspension include, but are not limited to:
- Parent, student, and staff conference
- Appropriate behavior-specific consequence
- Individual behavior contract
- Daily or weekly “check-in/check-out” with a designated staff member
- Referral to the Student Study Team
- Restorative Justice Implementation of appropriate interventions (behavioral and/or academic)
- Referral to appropriate social skills or mental health support group (parent permission required)
- Referral for individual counseling and mental health support (parent permission required)
Student Expulsion Procedures
The following information is provided to assist the student and his or her parent/guardian to understand District procedures when the expulsion of a student is being considered.
A. THE SCHOOL
- Student is charged with violating one or more subsections of Education Code (E.C.) section 48900; 48900.2, 48900.3, 48900.4, or 48900.7; and/or 48915.
- Prior to suspending the student, the principal/designee has an informal conference with the student to discuss the allegation and to obtain the student’s written statement.
- School personnel will provide written notice of suspension to the parent/guardian.
- Principal/designee conducts a conference at school with parent/guardian and student to discuss the allegation(s) and the possibility of an expulsion recommendation. At this conference, parent and student are provided the opportunity to respond to the charge(s) and to present a defense.
- If principal decides to recommend expulsion, school personnel will notify the parent/guardian by mail.
- Pending disposition of expulsion recommendation, student may be placed in an alternative educational program. If student is not placed within five school days, the parent/guardian should call the district office.
B. EXPULSION HEARING PROCESS
- The student should be present at the hearing.
- Parent/guardian has the right to be represented by a counsel or accompanied by an advocate or other representative.
- The school must present evidence to substantiate the charge; the parent/guardian and the student have the right to also present evidence.
- At the Expulsion Review Committee (ERC) hearing, reasonable and pertinent evidence shall be considered.
- The ERC may decide to not recommend expulsion (NRE). Should this occur, the expulsion process will stop and, depending on the reason for the NRE, the student will be permitted to return to the referring school or to another school/program, at the discretion of the District.
- If the ERC decides to recommend expulsion to the Board of Education, the parent/guardian will be notified by mail.
- Subsequently, the Student Discipline and Expulsion Support Unit will mail notification to the parent/guardian of the scheduled date that the Board will take action on the case.
- The parent/guardian and/or student may request to address the Board of Education.
C. THE BOARD OF EDUCATION
- The Board may accept, alter, or reject the Expulsion Review Committee’s recommendation (unless the State mandates that, due to the misconduct, the Board must expel the student).
- The Board must make its decision at a public meeting.
- The parent/guardian and/or student may address the Board.
- The Board shall recommend a plan of rehabilitation for the student.
- If the student is expelled without the suspended enforcement, the District will provide assistance, as needed, to ensure an alternative educational placement.
- If the student is not expelled, the District will assign the student to a school or program within the District.
- An expelled student may be reinstated at the end of his or her term of expulsion if the student has complied with the rehabilitative contract and is deemed to not present potential danger to personnel or pupils of the District
The student or parent/guardian may appeal the expulsion to the Marin County Board of Education within 30 calendar days following the Board’s decision to expel.