Suspensions, Expulsions, and Discipline

Suspensions, Expulsions, and Discipline

Note: This information is from our manual, Discipline in Public Schools.

3 Key Things to Know about Student Discipline in Washington State

  • Students and their families have a right to due process when a student faces discipline – that means a right to notice and an opportunity to be heard;
  • Schools are encouraged to limit the use and the length of suspensions and expulsions, and can only use long-term suspensions and expulsions for certain serious behaviors.
  • All students have the right to continue receiving educational services during any suspension or expulsion.

The Right to an Education

The right to an education continues even if a student makes a mistake, breaks a rule and/or is suspended or expelled.

An Evolution in Discipline

Less than 10 years ago, a student in Washington state could be expelled indefinitely without any alternative educational services. That meant an expulsion was often a one-way door out of school. That is not the case anymore.

Every suspension and expulsion has to have an end-date, and there are several ways a suspension or expulsion can be shortened. Schools are required to work with every student who is expelled or suspended on a plan for keeping up while they are out of school and a plan for successful re-engagement before a student returns from a long-term suspension or expulsion.

Suspensions and expulsions are still very disruptive to students’ learning, and can make it difficult to build the kind of positive relationships that help students stay in school and succeed.  So taking steps to address discipline issues at the earliest sign of a problem is critical.

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