Note: This information is from our manual, Discipline in Public Schools.
What happens after a student is long-term suspended or expelled?
School districts are required to create re-engagement plans for every student excluded from school for 10 or more days.
When your student is expelled or suspended for longer than 10 school days, the school district must work with you and your student to create an appropriate, culturally responsive and culturally sensitive re-engagement plan. The school district should contact you to invite you to a re-engagement meeting. This should happen within 20 days of the suspension or expulsion if it is for more than 20 days, and no more than five days before the end of the suspension or expulsion if it is for less than 20 days. Make sure the meeting is set for a date and time that works for you and your student.
What are the benefits of a re-engagement meeting?
The meeting gives you, your student, and the school from which your child was suspended or expelled an opportunity to:
- Establish a plan for ensuring safety for all;
- Discuss the possibility of allowing the student to return to their school earlier;
- Collaboratively develop a plan to address and amend the situation that led to your student's exclusion;
- Help reconnect you to the school thereby improving your student's ability to succeed in school and life.
How should I prepare for the meeting?
- Talk with your student and think together about your goals for returning to school.
- Reflect on how your student's behavior might have looked through the school's eyes.
- Prepare a list of suggestions for support and skills your student might need to prevent future problems.
- Reflect on the facts as you know them and be prepared to share those with the school.
- Review the model meeting template as an option for use at the meeting.
At the meeting:
- Acknowledge common goals you may share (see template).
- Hear the administrator out. Let them tell their side of the story. You don't have to agree.
- Discuss how all parties could repair damaged relationships that led to or resulted from the incident.
- Review how the alternative educational services offered by the school are working for your student.
- Think of ways your student could reconnect socially and academically.
- Think of ways your student may be able to transition back to school with dignity.
- Help the school find positive activities your student could be doing in and out of school.
- With the help of your student, think of trusted adult role models that your student could have contact with regularly once he/she returns.
- Establish a schedule for regular connection/progress assessment with your student and reporting to the school. At least weekly is recommended for the first month back in school.
- Avoid getting defensive.
- Avoid making accusations.
- Remember, you are all looking for ways for your student to be successful in school and in life.
While this publication provides basic information on education law in Washington State, it is not legal advice, and is not in any way intended to be a substitute for legal advice or representation. This document was developed collaboratively with TeamChild, the Office of the Education Ombuds, and Sound Discipline and is intended to provide support to educators, families and students as they implement strategies to reengage student who have been excluded from school.