California School Discipline Laws & Regulations: Limitations or Conditions on Exclusionary Discipline

Discipline Compendium

California School Discipline Laws & Regulations: Limitations or Conditions on Exclusionary Discipline

Category: Exclusionary Discipline: Suspension, Expulsion, and Alternative Placement
Subcategory: Limitations or Conditions on Exclusionary Discipline
State: California

The state or jurisdiction(s) you selected for this subcategory are shown below, followed by the laws and regulations. To add or change states, use the Back button and resubmit your search request.

To view a state profile showing school discipline laws and regulations in all subcategories for a given state, click on the state name.

LAWS

EDC 48900.

A pupil shall not be suspended from school or recommended for expulsion, unless the superintendent of the school district or the principal of the school in which the pupil is enrolled determines that the pupil has committed an act as defined pursuant to any of subdivisions (a) to (r), inclusive:

(a)(1) Caused, attempted to cause, or threatened to cause physical injury to another person.

(2) Willfully used force or violence upon the person of another, except in self-defense.

(b) Possessed, sold, or otherwise furnished a firearm, knife, explosive, or other dangerous object, unless, in the case of possession of an object of this type, the pupil had obtained written permission to possess the item from a certificated school employee, which is concurred in by the principal or the designee of the principal.

(c) Unlawfully possessed, used, sold, or otherwise furnished, or been under the influence of, a controlled substance listed in Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 11053) of Division 10 of the Health and Safety Code, an alcoholic beverage, or an intoxicant of any kind.

(d) Unlawfully offered, arranged, or negotiated to sell a controlled substance listed in Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 11053) of Division 10 of the Health and Safety Code, an alcoholic beverage, or an intoxicant of any kind, and either sold, delivered, or otherwise furnished to a person another liquid, substance, or material and represented the liquid, substance, or material as a controlled substance, alcoholic beverage, or intoxicant.

(e) Committed or attempted to commit robbery or extortion.

(f) Caused or attempted to cause damage to school property or private property.

(g) Stole or attempted to steal school property or private property.

(h) Possessed or used tobacco, or products containing tobacco or nicotine products, including, but not limited to, cigarettes, cigars, miniature cigars, clove cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, snuff, chew packets, and betel. However, this section does not prohibit the use or possession by a pupil of the pupil's own prescription products.

(i) Committed an obscene act or engaged in habitual profanity or vulgarity.

(j) Unlawfully possessed or unlawfully offered, arranged, or negotiated to sell drug paraphernalia, as defined in Section 11014.5 of the Health and Safety Code.

(k)(1) Disrupted school activities or otherwise willfully defied the valid authority of supervisors, teachers, administrators, school officials, or other school personnel engaged in the performance of their duties.

(2) Except as provided in Section 48910, a pupil enrolled in kindergarten or any of grades 1 to 3, inclusive, shall not be suspended for any of the acts enumerated in paragraph (1), and those acts shall not constitute grounds for a pupil enrolled in kindergarten or any of grades 1 to 12, inclusive, to be recommended for expulsion. This paragraph is inoperative on July 1, 2020.

(3) Except as provided in Section 48910, commencing July 1, 2020, a pupil enrolled in kindergarten or any of grades 1 to 5, inclusive, shall not be suspended for any of the acts specified in paragraph (1), and those acts shall not constitute grounds for a pupil enrolled in kindergarten or any of grades 1 to 12, inclusive, to be recommended for expulsion.

(4) Except as provided in Section 48910, commencing July 1, 2020, a pupil enrolled in any of grades 6 to 8, inclusive, shall not be suspended for any of the acts specified in paragraph (1). This paragraph is inoperative on July 1, 2025.

(l) Knowingly received stolen school property or private property.

(m) Possessed an imitation firearm. As used in this section, "imitation firearm" means a replica of a firearm that is so substantially similar in physical properties to an existing firearm as to lead a reasonable person to conclude that the replica is a firearm.

(n) Committed or attempted to commit a sexual assault as defined in Section 261, 266c, 286, 287, 288, or 289 of, or former Section 288a of, the Penal Code or committed a sexual battery as defined in Section 243.4 of the Penal Code.

(o) Harassed, threatened, or intimidated a pupil who is a complaining witness or a witness in a school disciplinary proceeding for purposes of either preventing that pupil from being a witness or retaliating against that pupil for being a witness, or both.

(p) Unlawfully offered, arranged to sell, negotiated to sell, or sold the prescription drug Soma.

(q) Engaged in, or attempted to engage in, hazing. For purposes of this subdivision, "hazing" means a method of initiation or preinitiation into a pupil organization or body, whether or not the organization or body is officially recognized by an educational institution, that is likely to cause serious bodily injury or personal degradation or disgrace resulting in physical or mental harm to a former, current, or prospective pupil. For purposes of this subdivision, "hazing" does not include athletic events or school-sanctioned events.

(r) Engaged in an act of bullying. For purposes of this subdivision, the following terms have the following meanings:

(1) "Bullying" means any severe or pervasive physical or verbal act or conduct, including communications made in writing or by means of an electronic act, and including one or more acts committed by a pupil or group of pupils as defined in Section 48900.2, 48900.3, or 48900.4, directed toward one or more pupils that has or can be reasonably predicted to have the effect of one or more of the following:

(A) Placing a reasonable pupil or pupils in fear of harm to that pupil's or those pupils' person or property.

(B) Causing a reasonable pupil to experience a substantially detrimental effect on the pupil's physical or mental health.

(C) Causing a reasonable pupil to experience substantial interference with the pupil's academic performance.

(D) Causing a reasonable pupil to experience substantial interference with the pupil's ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or privileges provided by a school.

(2)(A) "Electronic act" means the creation or transmission originated on or off the schoolsite, by means of an electronic device, including, but not limited to, a telephone, wireless telephone, or other wireless communication device, computer, or pager, of a communication, including, but not limited to, any of the following:

(i) A message, text, sound, video, or image.

(ii) A post on a social network internet website, including, but not limited to:

(I) Posting to or creating a burn page. "Burn page" means an internet website created for the purpose of having one or more of the effects listed in paragraph (1).

(II) Creating a credible impersonation of another actual pupil for the purpose of having one or more of the effects listed in paragraph (1). "Credible impersonation" means to knowingly and without consent impersonate a pupil for the purpose of bullying the pupil and such that another pupil would reasonably believe, or has reasonably believed, that the pupil was or is the pupil who was impersonated.

(III) Creating a false profile for the purpose of having one or more of the effects listed in paragraph (1). "False profile" means a profile of a fictitious pupil or a profile using the likeness or attributes of an actual pupil other than the pupil who created the false profile.

(iii)(I) An act of cyber sexual bullying.

(II) For purposes of this clause, "cyber sexual bullying" means the dissemination of, or the solicitation or incitement to disseminate, a photograph or other visual recording by a pupil to another pupil or to school personnel by means of an electronic act that has or can be reasonably predicted to have one or more of the effects described in subparagraphs (A) to (D), inclusive, of paragraph (1). A photograph or other visual recording, as described in this subclause, shall include the depiction of a nude, semi-nude, or sexually explicit photograph or other visual recording of a minor where the minor is identifiable from the photograph, visual recording, or other electronic act.

(III) For purposes of this clause, "cyber sexual bullying" does not include a depiction, portrayal, or image that has any serious literary, artistic, educational, political, or scientific value or that involves athletic events or school-sanctioned activities.

(B) Notwithstanding paragraph (1) and subparagraph (A), an electronic act shall not constitute pervasive conduct solely on the basis that it has been transmitted on the internet or is currently posted on the internet.

(3) "Reasonable pupil" means a pupil, including, but not limited to, a pupil with exceptional needs, who exercises average care, skill, and judgment in conduct for a person of that age, or for a person of that age with the pupil's exceptional needs.

(s) A pupil shall not be suspended or expelled for any of the acts enumerated in this section unless the act is related to a school activity or school attendance occurring within a school under the jurisdiction of the superintendent of the school district or principal or occurring within any other school district. A pupil may be suspended or expelled for acts that are enumerated in this section and related to a school activity or school attendance that occur at any time, including, but not limited to, any of the following:

(1) While on school grounds.

(2) While going to or coming from school.

(3) During the lunch period whether on or off the campus.

(4) During, or while going to or coming from, a school-sponsored activity.

(t) A pupil who aids or abets, as defined in Section 31 of the Penal Code, the infliction or attempted infliction of physical injury to another person may be subject to suspension, but not expulsion, pursuant to this section, except that a pupil who has been adjudged by a juvenile court to have committed, as an aider and abettor, a crime of physical violence in which the victim suffered great bodily injury or serious bodily injury shall be subject to discipline pursuant to subdivision (a).

(u) As used in this section, "school property" includes, but is not limited to, electronic files and databases.

(v) For a pupil subject to discipline under this section, a superintendent of the school district or principal is encouraged to provide alternatives to suspension or expulsion, using a research-based framework with strategies that improve behavioral and academic outcomes, that are age appropriate and designed to address and correct the pupil's specific misbehavior as specified in Section 48900.5.

(w)(1) It is the intent of the Legislature that alternatives to suspension or expulsion be imposed against a pupil who is truant, tardy, or otherwise absent from school activities.

(2) It is further the intent of the Legislature that the Multi-Tiered System of Supports, which includes restorative justice practices, trauma-informed practices, social and emotional learning, and schoolwide positive behavior interventions and support, may be used to help pupils gain critical social and emotional skills, receive support to help transform trauma-related responses, understand the impact of their actions, and develop meaningful methods for repairing harm to the school community.

EDC 48900.2.

In addition to the reasons specified in Section 48900, a pupil may be suspended from school or recommended for expulsion if the superintendent or the principal of the school in which the pupil is enrolled determines that the pupil has committed sexual harassment as defined in Section 212.5.

For the purposes of this chapter, the conduct described in Section 212.5 must be considered by a reasonable person of the same gender as the victim to be sufficiently severe or pervasive to have a negative impact upon the individual's academic performance or to create an intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational environment. This section shall not apply to pupils enrolled in kindergarten and grades 1 to 3, inclusive.

EDC 48903.

(a) Except as provided in subdivision (g) of Section 48911 and in Section 48912, the total number of days for which a pupil may be suspended from school shall not exceed 20 schooldays in any school year, unless for purposes of adjustment, a pupil enrolls in or is transferred to another regular school, an opportunity school or class, or a continuation education school or class, in which case the total number of schooldays for which the pupil may be suspended shall not exceed 30 days in any school year.

(b) For the purposes of this section, a school district may count suspensions that occur while a pupil is enrolled in another school district toward the maximum number of days for which a pupil may be suspended in any school year.

EDC 48911.

(a) The principal of the school, the principal's designee, or the district superintendent of schools may suspend a pupil from the school for any of the reasons enumerated in Section 48900, and pursuant to Section 48900.5, for no more than five consecutive schooldays.

(b) Suspension by the principal, the principal's designee, or the district superintendent of schools shall be preceded by an informal conference conducted by the principal, the principal's designee, or the district superintendent of schools between the pupil and, whenever practicable, the teacher, supervisor, or school employee who referred the pupil to the principal, the principal's designee, or the district superintendent of schools. At the conference, the pupil shall be informed of the reason for the disciplinary action, including the other means of correction that were attempted before the suspension as required under Section 48900.5, and the evidence against him or her, and shall be given the opportunity to present his or her version and evidence in his or her defense.

(c) A principal, the principal's designee, or the district superintendent of schools may suspend a pupil without affording the pupil an opportunity for a conference only if the principal, the principal's designee, or the district superintendent of schools determines that an emergency situation exists. "Emergency situation," as used in this article, means a situation determined by the principal, the principal's designee, or the district superintendent of schools to constitute a clear and present danger to the life, safety, or health of pupils or school personnel. If a pupil is suspended without a conference before suspension, both the parent and the pupil shall be notified of the pupil's right to a conference and the pupil's right to return to school for the purpose of a conference. The conference shall be held within two schooldays, unless the pupil waives this right or is physically unable to attend for any reason, including, but not limited to, incarceration or hospitalization. The conference shall then be held as soon as the pupil is physically able to return to school for the conference.

(d) At the time of suspension, a school employee shall make a reasonable effort to contact the pupil's parent or guardian in person or by telephone. If a pupil is suspended from school, the parent or guardian shall be notified in writing of the suspension.

(e) A school employee shall report the suspension of the pupil, including the cause for the suspension, to the governing board of the school district or to the district superintendent of schools in accordance with the regulations of the governing board of the school district.

(f)(1) The parent or guardian of a pupil shall respond without delay to a request from school officials to attend a conference regarding his or her child's behavior.

(2) No penalties shall be imposed on a pupil for failure of the pupil's parent or guardian to attend a conference with school officials. Reinstatement of the suspended pupil shall not be contingent upon attendance by the pupil's parent or guardian at the conference.

(g) In a case where expulsion from a school or suspension for the balance of the semester from continuation school is being processed by the governing board of the school district, the district superintendent of schools or other person designated by the district superintendent of schools in writing may extend the suspension until the governing board of the school district has rendered a decision in the action. However, an extension may be granted only if the district superintendent of schools or the district superintendent's designee has determined, following a meeting in which the pupil and the pupil's parent or guardian are invited to participate, that the presence of the pupil at the school or in an alternative school placement would cause a danger to persons or property or a threat of disrupting the instructional process. If the pupil is a foster child, as defined in Section 48853.5, the district superintendent of schools or the district superintendent's designee, including, but not limited to, the educational liaison for the school district, shall also invite the pupil's attorney and an appropriate representative of the county child welfare agency to participate in the meeting. If the pupil or the pupil's parent or guardian has requested a meeting to challenge the original suspension pursuant to Section 48914, the purpose of the meeting shall be to decide upon the extension of the suspension order under this section and may be held in conjunction with the initial meeting on the merits of the suspension.

EDC 48911.5.

The site principal of a contracting nonpublic, nonsectarian school providing services to individuals with exceptional needs under Sections 56365 and 56366, shall have the same duties and responsibilities with respect to the suspension of pupils with previously identified exceptional needs prescribed for the suspension of pupils under Section 48911.

EDC 48912.5.

The governing board of a school district may suspend a pupil enrolled in a continuation school or class for a period not longer than the remainder of the semester if any of the acts enumerated in Section 48900 occurred. The suspension shall meet the requirements of Section 48915.

EDC 48915.01.

If the governing board of a school district has established a community day school pursuant to Section 48661 on the same site as a comprehensive middle, junior, or senior high school, or at any elementary school, the governing board does not have to meet the condition in paragraph (2) of subdivision (d) of Section 48915 when the board, pursuant to subdivision (f) of Section 48915, refers a pupil to a program of study and that program of study is at the community day school. All the other conditions of subdivision (d) of Section 48915 are applicable to the referral as required by subdivision (f) of Section 48915.

EDC 48915.5.

(a) A pupil expelled from school for any of the offenses listed in subdivision (a) or (c) of Section 48915, shall not be permitted to enroll in any other school or school district during the period of expulsion unless it is a county community school pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 1981, or a juvenile court school, as described in Section 48645.1, or a community day school pursuant to Article 3 (commencing with Section 48660) of Chapter 4 of Part 27.

(b) After a determination has been made, pursuant to a hearing under Section 48918, that an individual expelled from another school district for any act described in subdivision (a) or (c) of Section 48915 does not pose a danger to either the pupils or employees of the school district, the governing board of a school district may permit the individual to enroll in the school district after the term of expulsion, subject to one of the following conditions:

(1) He or she has established legal residence in the school district, pursuant to Section 48200.

(2) He or she is enrolled in the school pursuant to an interdistrict agreement executed between the affected school districts pursuant to Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 46600) of Part 26.

REGULATIONS

§ 352. Detention duringrecess or noon intermission.

A pupil shall not be required to remain in school during the intermission at noon, or during any recess.

§ 353. Detention after school.

A pupil shall not be detained in school for disciplinary or other reasons for more than one hour after the close of the maximum school day, except as otherwise provided in Section 307.

American Institutes for Research

U.S. Department of Education

The contents of the National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments Web site were assembled under contracts from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Safe and Supportive Schools to the American Institutes for Research (AIR), Contract Number  91990021A0020.

This Web site is operated and maintained by AIR. The contents of this Web site do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the U.S. Department of Education nor do they imply endorsement by the U.S. Department of Education.

©2024 American Institutes for Research — Disclaimer   |   Privacy Policy   |   Accessibility Statement