At some point in a student's life, they may get in trouble at school. In general, getting in trouble for failure to hand in a homework assignment or talking during class isn't going to lead to an expulsion. Most of the time, students will receive a demerit of some sort or be sent to detention if the teacher or principal feels that is necessary. Typically, schools do a good job of matching the punishment to the behavior. However, in cases in which the student is breaking the rules consistently or putting the safety of others at risk, they could be in danger of getting expelled.
While some schools are stricter than others, the criteria for a student getting expelled is more or less the same across the board. If you are a student wondering how to avoid being expelled from school, or if you're a parent wondering what to do when your child has been expelled, there are resources out there that can help.
What Does Expelled From School Mean?
An expulsion is when a student is forbidden from attending classes or stepping on school grounds due to very bad behavior. There are many ways to get expelled from high school, middle school or even elementary school. Getting expelled is the strictest form of punishment, as it means the child is essentially getting kicked out of school. In a public school system, the superintendent's office will usually make this decision, and in a private school, it could be up to the board or committee and the principal together.
In many cases, if a child is expelled, it means she cannot come back to that school for a certain amount of time (typically a semester or a year), or she may be banned from coming back altogether. It's indefinite. This is different from a suspension, which is when a child cannot come to school for a short period of time due to her behavior, which was serious but not bad enough to cause expulsion. Getting expelled can have terrible consequences for the student and her family, as the child will lose valuable education time while she is at home. It will also make it difficult for her to get into college and can therefore have an impact on her future.
Too Much Bullying
One way to get expelled from school is by excessively bullying other children. While bullying is unfortunately very common in school, teasing wouldn't necessarily be one of the reasons for expulsion from school. If the bullying is consistent and to the point where those affected are missing school, are extremely violated or are perhaps even beginning to cause harm to themselves, the student responsible can be expelled. Though it usually has to happen on school grounds, schools are now getting involved in cyberbullying incidents as well.
Assault or Fighting Resulting in Injury
When bullying is taken to the next level and a student physically harms or touches another student in some form of assault, this can definitely be grounds for expulsion. Additionally, if a child gets into a fight at school with another student, both will likely be suspended. If it continues and the child gets into fights frequently, he may be expelled. Some schools, however, have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to assault or fighting and can expel the student the first time it happens.
Drug Use or Possession
If a student is caught bringing drugs to school or using drugs on school grounds, she will most definitely be expelled – maybe not on the first account, but certainly if it's happened more than once. Students are not allowed to bring alcohol, narcotics, opioids and more. Even students who take over-the-counter or prescription drugs at school without consulting the nurse's office are at risk for expulsion.
Bringing a Weapon or Making Threats
One of the quickest ways for a student to get expelled is by bringing a weapon to school or threatening to bring a weapon or a bomb on school grounds. A weapon could be something as small as a knife or brass knuckles and something as dangerous as a gun. Because of the influx in school shootings, schools have become more cautious. Anything that might put the lives of other students in danger is not only grounds for expulsion but for prison time too.
Vandalism on School Property
Students sometimes like to make pranks to bring some laughter to their peers. However, pranks that are taken too far, such as spray painting a wall in school, can lead to a student's expulsion. It doesn't need to be a prank, either. There are cases of students being expelled for vandalizing school property in the form of a hate crime, such as drawing swastikas.
Hate Speech and Dangerous Rhetoric
In addition to causing hate crime vandalism, students often forget that their right to free speech does not always apply to them when they are in school. If a student is constantly saying hateful rhetoric by targeting LGBTQ students, for example, this can cause them to get expelled. On top of that, if they are caught saying speech that involves warning students of danger that is nonexistent (the equivalent to shouting "fire" in a crowded movie theater), then they can also be expelled.
Consistent Intentional Disturbances
Many movies, television shows and cartoons depict students pulling the fire alarm, which usually results in a suspension. If this happens consistently, or the school has a zero tolerance for these kinds of disruptions, then a student can be expelled. Additionally, students are expected to behave a certain way when they are at school. They are expected to respect their teachers, follow rules and do what's asked of them. If a student consistently breaks these rules, is disruptive in class and is rude to the teacher by cussing at her, for instance, then he can be expelled.
Consistent Academic Violations
Not all students learn the same way, and there are many students who simply don't like going to school. However, that's the law. Unless students have legally dropped out of school at the age they are allowed to do so, or they have a note from a guardian or doctor as to why they are missing school, then there's no reason that they shouldn't be in the building. Students committing consistent academic violations are in danger of being expelled, especially in private schools where students may be held up to a higher standard. Likewise, students are also expected to keep their grades up and at least make an effort in their work. If they are constantly skipping school, failing to turn in homework or participate in class, cheating on tests or consistently copying other students' homework, then they can be expelled.
How to Prevent Your Child From Being Expelled
If you're worried that your mischievous child is in danger of being expelled, then the best thing you can do is talk to him and talk to the school. Schools usually have their students' best interests in mind and will work with you to try and find solutions that can work for your child. Perhaps if he sees a school psychologist, social worker, guidance counselor or talks to a teacher that he really likes, it might be enough to redirect him on a healthy path to success. Parents and teachers should use consistency when it comes to punishments and use positive behavior reinforcement to encourage kids. Often, students act out because something is going on with them either mentally, emotionally or physically. If you suspect something is going on with your child, you're probably right, and you should investigate to see if there are ways you can support him.
My Child Has Been Expelled From School – Now What?
If your child has already been expelled, it's not too late. Students have the right to due process if they are being expelled, which means they can fight their position at a hearing. Parents have the right to meet with a lawyer who can represent the child to protest the expulsion. If all of this is unsuccessful, then the child should be provided with resources that she can utilize while she is out of school. She may also be granted re-entry at some point. As long as the child can meet the requirements of the re-entry, she can be allowed back in school. Keep in mind that all states and school districts have different regulations when it comes to expulsions, but in general, the rules are similar.
Hana LaRock is a freelance content writer from New York, currently living in Mexico. She has spent the last 5 years traveling the world and living abroad and has lived in South Korea and Israel. Before becoming a writer, Hana worked as a teacher for several years in the U.S. and around the world. She has her teaching certification in Elementary Education and Special Education, as well as a TESOL certification. Hana spent a semester studying abroad at Tel Aviv University during her undergraduate years at the University of Hartford. She hopes to use her experience to help inform others. Please visit her website, www.hanalarockwriting.com, to learn more.