Policy JKE: Student Expulsion

Massachusetts General Law Chapter 71, Section 37H provides that a student in possession of a dangerous weapon, in possession of a controlled substance, or who assaults a principal, assistant principal, teacher, teacher’s aide or other educational staff member on school premises or at school-sponsored or school-related events may be subject to expulsion by the principal. After determining the facts of the situation, the principal has the discretion to suspend rather than to expel a student.

Expulsions will be recorded on students’ permanent records.

The relevant sections of the state law appear below.

Massachusetts General law Chapter 71, Section 37H provides that:

(a) Any student who is found on school premises or at school-sponsored or school-related events, including athletic games, in possession of a dangerous weapon, including, but not limited to, a gun or a knife; or a controlled substance as defined in Chapter 94C, including, but not limited to, marijuana, cocaine, and heroin, may be subject to expulsion from the school or [and] school district by the principal.

(b) Any student who assaults a principal, assistant principal, teacher, teacher’s aide, or other educational staff member on school premises or at school-sponsored or school-related events, including athletic games, may be subject to expulsion from the school or [and] school district by the principal.

(c) Any student who is charged with a violation of (a) or (b) shall be notified in writing of an opportunity for a hearing; provided, however, that the student may have representation, along with the opportunity to present evidence and witnesses at said hearing before the principal.

After said hearing, a principal may, in his[/her]discretion decide to suspend rather than expel a student who has been determined by the principal to have violated (a) or (b).

(d) Any student who has been expelled pursuant to these provisions shall have the right to appeal to the Superintendent. The expelled student shall have 10 days from the date of the expulsion in which to notify the Superintendent of his[/her] appeal. The student has the right to counsel at a hearing before the Superintendent. The subject matter of the appeal shall not be limited solely to a factual determination of whether the student has violated any provisions of this section.

(e) When a student is expelled under the provisions of this section, no school or school district within the commonwealth shall be required to admit such student or to provide educational services to said student. If the student does apply for admission to another school or school district, the Superintendent of the to whom the application is made may request and shall receive from the Superintendent of the school expelling said student a written statement of reason for said expulsion.

Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 71, Section 37H1/2, provides that:

(1) Upon the issuance of a criminal complaint charging a student with a felony or upon the issuance of a felony delinquency complaint against a student, the principal of a school in which the student is enrolled may suspend such student for a period of time determined appropriate by said principal, if said principal determines that the student’s continued presence in school would have a substantial detrimental effect on the general welfare of the school. The student shall receive written notification of the charges and the reasons for such suspension prior to such suspension taking effect. The student shall also receive written notification of his[/her] right to appeal and the process for appealing such suspension; provided, however, that such suspension shall remain in effect prior to any appeal hearing conducted by the Superintendent.

The student shall have the right to appeal the suspension to the Superintendent. The student shall notify the Superintendent in writing of his[/her] request for an appeal no later than five calendar days following the effective date of the suspension. The Superintendent shall hold a hearing with the student and the student’s parent or guardian within three calendar days of the student’s request for an appeal. At the hearing, the student shall have the right to present oral and written testimony on his[/her] behalf, and shall have the right to counsel. The Superintendent shall have the authority to overturn or alter the decision of the principal, including recommending an alternate educational program for the student. The Superintendent shall render a decision on the appeal within five calendar days of the hearing. Such decision shall be the final decision of the city, town or regional school district with regard to the suspension.

(2) Upon a student being convicted of a felony or upon an adjudication or admission in court of guilt with respect to such a felony or felony delinquency, the principal of a school in which the student is enrolled may expel said student if such principal determines that the student’s continued presence in school would have a substantial detrimental effect on the general welfare of the school. The student shall receive written notification of the charges and reasons for such expulsion prior to such expulsion taking effect. The student shall also receive written notification of his[/her] right to appeal and the process for appealing such expulsion; provided, however, that the expulsion shall remain in effect prior to any appeal hearing conducted by the Superintendent.

The student shall have the right to appeal the expulsion to the Superintendent. The student shall notify the Superintendent, in writing, of his[/her] request for an appeal no later than five calendar days following the effective date of the expulsion. The Superintendent shall hold a hearing with the student and the student’s parent or guardian within three calendar days of the expulsion. At the hearing, the student shall have the right to present oral and written testimony on his[/her] behalf, and shall have the right to counsel. The Superintendent shall have the authority to overturn or alter the decision of the principal, including recommending an alternate educational program for the student. The Superintendent shall render a decision on the appeal within five calendar days of the hearing. Such decision shall be the final decision of the city, town or regional school district with regard to the expulsion.

Upon expulsion of such student, no school or school district shall be required to provide educational services to the student.

LEGAL REF:

MGL 71:37H , 71:37H.5, 76:16 , 76:17

Region Voted to Approve: 8/29/06
Amherst Voted to Approve: 9/19/06
Pelham Voted to Approve: 9/7/06
Effective Date: 9/19/06
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