The school board can have all of its trustees or a committee of at least 3 trustees who will act as judges and hold a hearing. A hearing is like a trial where they will make a decision about whether to expel you. The hearing must be held within 20 school days of the original suspension unless everyone agrees to an extension.
If more than 20 school days have passed without a hearing or an agreement to extend the deadline, you can return to school, so you should not agree to an extension unless you have talked to a lawyer.
At the hearing, both the principal and the school board trustees may have a lawyer. The principal will present evidence to the trustees as to why you should be expelled. You can also be represented by a lawyer and can question the principal’s evidence and present your own evidence.
Each school board can decide its own process, but they must provide you with a copy of their procedures and provide you with information on the process. If the process in your school board does not give you a chance to fully explain your side, to discuss your “mitigating circumstances” (see page 4), and present your evidence, you should consult with a lawyer.
Generally, the school board trustees will listen to any evidence you provide about why an expulsion would be unfair and will listen to the principal about why you should be expelled. You and your parents have rights during this process which include:
having a lawyer with you (and it would be helpful to have a lawyer with you);
calling witnesses and present your side of the story;
cross-examining or questioning all witnesses; and
explaining why there are mitigating circumstances or to explaining your disabilities and how the school board should accommodate them.
The principal must provide evidence and should not just summarize what the principal thinks happened without saying what evidence the principal considered, for example, what was found in your locker, how the principal knows it was an illegal drug (i.e. marijuana) you had in school, what mitigating circumstances the principal considered and why the principal thinks expulsion is the right answer.
The trustees may or may not accept the evidence as valid, depending on whether the principal’s investigation was conducted properly and fairly and not based exclusively on hearsay (information passed on by word of mouth).
The decision of the school board trustees must be in writing and must be given to you, your parents (unless you are 16 or 17 years old and have withdrawn from parental control, or you are over 18 years old) and other parties to the expulsion hearing. It must give reasons for an expulsion. If you are expelled from your school only, it must state which school you will now be attending. If you were expelled from all the schools in the school board it must state the name and location of the expelled students program you will be attending. It must also give you information on how to appeal the decision if you are being expelled.