Can you go to court if the school has a zero tolerance policy? 6 Answers as of November 10, 2010

My son was kicked out of his public school because he brought a knife to campus. It was not on him but in his locker, but a student reported him to the principal.

Now he is being kicked out of school because the district has a zero tolerance policy for drugs and weapons, which means that they do not give any warnings for first offenses. Is it possible to take such a case to court or does the fact that there is such a policy mean that we cannot fight this?

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Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
Your son can get a hearing with the school district to see if he can get reinstated.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/10/2010
Law Office of Thomas F. Mueller
Law Office of Thomas F. Mueller | Thomas Mueller
It is possible to take it to court, but you must exhaust your administrative remedies first. That means you need to request that the school have a hearing and then the district. most people decide to serve the suspension and leave it behind.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/2/2010
Wise Law Group
Wise Law Group | Michael J. Wise, Esq
I believe you can appeal it to the school board but would have to research the issue.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/2/2010
Christine D. Thielo
Christine D. Thielo | Law Office of Christine D. Thielo
We would need more information to adequately address your situation. If you would like we can set you and your son up to have a conference with Attorney Thielo in regards to his case. If you would like a conference please contact our office.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/2/2010
Law Office of Jeff Yeh
Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
In most cases, even under a zero tolerance policy, the School Board has the power to stop the expulsion by suspending it. The process for an expulsion is the following:

1. The student has a hearing in front of a panel of three teachers from within the district. This is like a trial except there are no rules of evidence and almost everything can be considered by the panel to include letters and other written statements. The student can either fight the offense and require the panel to make a finding of whether or not they think the student committed the offense or the student can admit fault and offer information in mitigation like letters of recommendation and statements by his parents. The students attorney can also question the district officials usually the vice-principal from the students school) about their case. After hearing evidence from the district and the student and his family the panel makes a recommendation to the school board about what should happen to the student. Usually in cases where expulsion is required the panel will recommend to expel the student. This is because the panel is required to expel the student if they find he committed the offense. The school board, however, is not similarly bound.

2. The second step of the expulsion process is to appear in front of the school board. Usually, the school board only permits limited testimony and will rely on the testimony at the panel hearing in coming to a decision. However, an experienced attorney usually tries to get as much testimony in as possible to include statements from the student expressing remorse if that is appropriate and possibly the parents. The attorney is then given the opportunity to make a closing argument. After that the board will go into deliberation and usually render a decision within a day or so. Contact an experienced defense attorney immediately, as time is of the essence.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/1/2010
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    Do not waste your money suing. He needs to negotiate the best deal he can to get back into some school on probation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/1/2010
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