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California Education Code Section 48918

48918. The governing board of each school district shall establish rules and regulations governing procedures for the expulsion of pupils. These procedures shall include, but are not necessarily limited to, all of the following:

(a) (1) The pupil shall be entitled to a hearing to determine whether the pupil should be expelled. An expulsion hearing shall be held within 30 schooldays after the date the principal or the superintendent of schools determines that the pupil has committed any of the acts enumerated in Section 48900, unless the pupil requests, in writing, that the hearing be postponed. The adopted rules and regulations shall specify that the pupil is entitled to at least one postponement of an expulsion hearing, for a period of not more than 30 calendar days. Any additional postponement may be granted at the discretion of the governing board of the school district.

(2) Within 10 schooldays after the conclusion of the hearing, the governing board of the school district shall decide whether to expel the pupil, unless the pupil requests in writing that the decision be postponed. If the hearing is held by a hearing officer or an administrative panel, or if the governing board of the school district does not meet on a weekly basis, the governing board of the school district shall decide whether to expel the pupil within 40 schooldays after the date of the pupil s removal from his or her school of attendance for the incident for which the recommendation for expulsion is made by the principal or the superintendent of schools, unless the pupil requests in writing that the decision be postponed.

(3) If compliance by the governing board of the school district with the time requirements for the conducting of an expulsion hearing under this subdivision is impracticable during the regular school year, the superintendent of schools or the superintendent s designee may, for good cause, extend the time period for the holding of the expulsion hearing for an additional five schooldays. If compliance by the governing board of the school district with the time requirements for the conducting of an expulsion hearing under this subdivision is impractical due to a summer recess of governing board meetings of more than two weeks, the days during the recess period shall not be counted as schooldays in meeting the time requirements. The days not counted as schooldays in meeting the time requirements for an expulsion hearing because of a summer recess of governing board meetings shall not exceed 20 schooldays, as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 48925, and unless the pupil requests in writing that the expulsion hearing be postponed, the hearing shall be held not later than 20 calendar days before the first day of school for the school year. Reasons for the extension of the time for the hearing shall be included as a part of the record at the time the expulsion hearing is conducted. Upon the commencement of the hearing, all matters shall be pursued and conducted with reasonable diligence and shall be concluded without any unnecessary delay.

(b) Written notice of the hearing shall be forwarded to the pupil at least 10 calendar days before the date of the hearing. The notice shall include all of the following:

(1) The date and place of the hearing.

(2) A statement of the specific facts and charges upon which the proposed expulsion is based.

(3) A copy of the disciplinary rules of the school district that relate to the alleged violation.

(4) A notice of the parent, guardian, or pupil s obligation pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 48915.1.

(5) Notice of the opportunity for the pupil or the pupil s parent or guardian to appear in person or to be represented by legal counsel or by a nonattorney adviser, to inspect and obtain copies of all documents to be used at the hearing, to confront and question all witnesses who testify at the hearing, to question all other evidence presented, and to present oral and documentary evidence on the pupil s behalf, including witnesses. In a hearing in which a pupil is alleged to have committed or attempted to commit a sexual assault as specified in subdivision (n) of Section 48900 or to have committed a sexual battery as defined in subdivision (n) of Section 48900, a complaining witness shall be given five days notice before being called to testify, and shall be entitled to have up to two adult support persons, including, but not limited to, a parent, guardian, or legal counsel, present during his or her testimony. Before a complaining witness testifies, support persons shall be admonished that the hearing is confidential. This subdivision shall not preclude the person presiding over an expulsion hearing from removing a support person whom the presiding person finds is disrupting the hearing. If one or both of the support persons is also a witness, the provisions of Section 868.5 of the Penal Code shall be followed for the hearing. This section does not require a pupil or the pupil s parent or guardian to be represented by legal counsel or by a nonattorney adviser at the hearing.

(A) For purposes of this section, legal counsel means an attorney or lawyer who is admitted to the practice of law in California and is an active member of the State Bar of California.

(B) For purposes of this section, nonattorney adviser means an individual who is not an attorney or lawyer, but who is familiar with the facts of the case, and has been selected by the pupil or pupil s parent or guardian to provide assistance at the hearing.

(c) (1) Notwithstanding Section 35145, the governing board of the school district shall conduct a hearing to consider the expulsion of a pupil in a session closed to the public, unless the pupil requests, in writing, at least five days before the date of the hearing, that the hearing be conducted at a public meeting. Regardless of whether the expulsion hearing is conducted in a closed or public session, the governing board of the school district may meet in closed session for the purpose of deliberating and determining whether the pupil should be expelled.

(2) If the governing board of the school district or the hearing officer or administrative panel appointed under subdivision (d) to conduct the hearing admits any other person to a closed deliberation session, the parent or guardian of the pupil, the pupil, and the counsel of the pupil also shall be allowed to attend the closed deliberations.

(3) If the hearing is to be conducted at a public meeting, and there is a charge of committing or attempting to commit a sexual assault as defined in subdivision (n) of Section 48900 or to commit a sexual battery as defined in subdivision (n) of Section 48900, a complaining witness shall have the right to have his or her testimony heard in a session closed to the public when testifying at a public meeting would threaten serious psychological harm to the complaining witness and there are no alternative procedures to avoid the threatened harm, including, but not limited to, videotaped deposition or contemporaneous examination in another place communicated to the hearing room by means of closed-circuit television.

(d) Instead of conducting an expulsion hearing itself, the governing board of the school district may contract with the county hearing officer, or with the Office of Administrative Hearings pursuant to Chapter 14 (commencing with Section 27720) of Part 3 of Division 2 of Title 3 of the Government Code and Section 35207 of this code, for a hearing officer to conduct the hearing. The governing board of the school district may also appoint an impartial administrative panel of three or more certificated persons, none of whom is a member of the governing board of the school district or employed on the staff of the school in which the pupil is enrolled. The hearing shall be conducted in accordance with all of the procedures established under this section.

(e) Within three schooldays after the hearing, the hearing officer or administrative panel shall determine whether to recommend the expulsion of the pupil to the governing board of the school district. If the hearing officer or administrative panel decides not to recommend expulsion, the expulsion proceedings shall be terminated and the pupil immediately shall be reinstated and permitted to return to the classroom instructional program from which the expulsion referral was made, unless the parent, guardian, or responsible adult of the pupil requests another school placement in writing. Before the placement decision is made by the parent, guardian, or responsible adult, the superintendent of schools or the superintendent s designee shall consult with school district personnel, including the pupil s teachers, and the parent, guardian, or responsible adult regarding any other school placement options for the pupil in addition to the option to return to his or her classroom instructional program from which the expulsion referral was made. If the hearing officer or administrative panel finds that the pupil committed any of the acts specified in subdivision (c) of Section 48915, but does not recommend expulsion, the pupil shall be immediately reinstated and may be referred to his or her prior school or another comprehensive school, or, pursuant to the procedures set forth in Section 48432.5, a continuation school of the school district. The decision not to recommend expulsion shall be final.

(f) (1) If the hearing officer or administrative panel recommends expulsion, findings of fact in support of the recommendation shall be prepared and submitted to the governing board of the school district. All findings of fact and recommendations shall be based solely on the evidence adduced at the hearing. If the governing board of the school district accepts the recommendation calling for expulsion, acceptance shall be based either upon a review of the findings of fact and recommendations submitted by the hearing officer or panel or upon the results of any supplementary hearing conducted pursuant to this section that the governing board of the school district may order.

(2) The decision of the governing board of the school district to expel a pupil shall be based upon substantial evidence relevant to the charges adduced at the expulsion hearing or hearings. Except as provided in this section, no evidence to expel shall be based solely upon hearsay evidence. The governing board of the school district or the hearing officer or administrative panel may, upon a finding that good cause exists, determine that the disclosure of either the identity of a witness or the testimony of that witness at the hearing, or both, would subject the witness to an unreasonable risk of psychological or physical harm. Upon this determination, the testimony of the witness may be presented at the hearing in the form of sworn declarations that shall be examined only by the governing board of the school district or the hearing officer or administrative panel. Copies of these sworn declarations, edited to delete the name and identity of the witness, shall be made available to the pupil.

(g) A record of the hearing shall be made. The record may be maintained by any means, including electronic recording, so long as a reasonably accurate and complete written transcription of the proceedings can be made.

(h) (1) Technical rules of evidence shall not apply to the hearing, but relevant evidence may be admitted and given probative effect only if it is the kind of evidence upon which reasonable persons are accustomed to rely in the conduct of serious affairs. A decision of the governing board of the school district to expel shall be supported by substantial evidence showing that the pupil committed any of the acts enumerated in Section 48900.

(2) In hearings that include an allegation of committing or attempting to commit a sexual assault as defined in subdivision (n) of Section 48900 or to commit a sexual battery as defined in subdivision (n) of Section 48900, evidence of specific instances, of a complaining witness prior sexual conduct is to be presumed inadmissible and shall not be heard absent a determination by the person conducting the hearing that extraordinary circumstances exist requiring the evidence be heard. Before the person conducting the hearing makes the determination on whether extraordinary circumstances exist requiring that specific instances of a complaining witness prior sexual conduct be heard, the complaining witness shall be provided notice and an opportunity to present opposition to the introduction of the evidence. In the hearing on the admissibility of the evidence, the complaining witness shall be entitled to be represented by a parent, guardian, legal counsel, or other support person. Reputation or opinion evidence regarding the sexual behavior of the complaining witness is not admissible for any purpose.

(i) (1) Before the hearing has commenced, the governing board of the school district may issue subpoenas at the request of either the superintendent of schools or the superintendent s designee or the pupil, for the personal appearance of percipient witnesses at the hearing. After the hearing has commenced, the governing board of the school district or the hearing officer or administrative panel may, upon request of either the county superintendent of schools or the superintendent s designee or the pupil, issue subpoenas. All subpoenas shall be issued in accordance with Sections 1985, 1985.1, and 1985.2 of the Code of Civil Procedure. Enforcement of subpoenas shall be done in accordance with Section 11455.20 of the Government Code.

(2) Any objection raised by the superintendent of schools or the superintendent s designee or the pupil to the issuance of subpoenas may be considered by the governing board of the school district in closed session, or in open session, if so requested by the pupil before the meeting. Any decision by the governing board of the school district in response to an objection to the issuance of subpoenas shall be final and binding.

(3) If the governing board of the school district, hearing officer, or administrative panel determines, in accordance with subdivision (f), that a percipient witness would be subject to an unreasonable risk of harm by testifying at the hearing, a subpoena shall not be issued to compel the personal attendance of that witness at the hearing. However, that witness may be compelled to testify by means of a sworn declaration as provided for in subdivision (f).

(4) Service of process shall be extended to all parts of the state and shall be served in accordance with Section 1987 of the Code of Civil Procedure. All witnesses appearing pursuant to subpoena, other than the parties or officers or employees of the state or any political subdivision of the state, shall receive fees, and all witnesses appearing pursuant to subpoena, except the parties, shall receive mileage in the same amount and under the same circumstances as prescribed for witnesses in civil actions in a superior court. Fees and mileage shall be paid by the party at whose request the witness is subpoenaed.

(j) Whether an expulsion hearing is conducted by the governing board of the school district or before a hearing officer or administrative panel, final action to expel a pupil shall be taken only by the governing board of the school district in a public session. Written notice of any decision to expel or to suspend the enforcement of an expulsion order during a period of probation shall be sent by the superintendent of schools or his or her designee to the pupil or the pupil s parent or guardian and shall be accompanied by all of the following:

(1) Notice of the right to appeal the expulsion to the county board of education.

(2) Notice of the education alternative placement to be provided to the pupil during the time of expulsion.

(3) Notice of the obligation of the parent, guardian, or pupil under subdivision (b) of Section 48915.1, upon the pupil s enrollment in a new school district, to inform that school district of the pupil s expulsion.

(k) (1) The governing board of the school district shall maintain a record of each expulsion, including the cause for the expulsion. Records of expulsions shall be nonprivileged, disclosable public records.

(2) The expulsion order and the causes for the expulsion shall be recorded in the pupil s mandatory interim record and shall be forwarded to any school in which the pupil subsequently enrolls upon receipt of a request from the admitting school for the pupil s school records.

(Amended by Stats. 2014, Ch. 837, Sec. 5. Effective January 1, 2015.)

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Last modified: September 9, 2016