Expulsions from School

August 31, 2005

Expulsions of students for a wide array of transgressions is ever increasing with the proliferation of youth crime and delinquency. Connecticut law mandates that any activity on school grounds which violates school policy or is seriously disruptive of the educational process is grounds for expulsion. Regarding criminal activity off school grounds, the Connecticut Supreme Court recently determined that only any conduct off school grounds which is "seriously disruptive of the educational process," provides a basis for expulsion. See Packer v. Board of Education, 246 Conn. 89 (1989). The student is afforded an opportunity for a hearing to contest any expulsion and may appeal any adverse decision if there has been a violation of a constitutionally protected right of the student. In certain instances involving firearms and drug distribution, expulsion is mandatory for one calendar year.

Expulsion does not mean removal from the education process, since in most instances, an "educational alternative" must be provided to the expelled student. This is mandatory for students under the age of 16, and subject to certain conditions for older students. Suspensions from school are generally discretionary, and no right to a hearing exists with regard to suspensions from school.

Representation by counsel is critical if an expulsion proceeding is contemplated. Early involvement by counsel presents and opportunity to negotiate a resolution of the school disciplinary issues short of a full expulsion hearing.

Records of expulsions are expunged from the permanent record of the student upon graduation, unless the expulsion was based upon possession of a deadly weapon or firearm. The latter class of records remains a part of the student's permanent record.