Policy JKE: Student Expulsion

Massachusetts General Law Chapter 71, Section 37H provides that astudent in possession of a dangerous weapon, in possession of acontrolled substance, or who assaults a principal, assistant principal,teacher, teacher’s aide or other educational staff member on schoolpremises or at school-sponsored or school-related events may be subjectto expulsion by the principal. After determining the facts of thesituation, the principal has the discretion to suspend rather than toexpel 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 atschool-sponsored or school-related events, including athletic games, inpossession of a dangerous weapon, including, but not limited to, a gunor a knife; or a controlled substance as defined in Chapter 94C,including, but not limited to, marijuana, cocaine, and heroin, may besubject to expulsion from the school or [and] school district by theprincipal.

(b) Any student who assaults a principal, assistant principal,teacher, teacher’s aide, or other educational staff member on schoolpremises or at school-sponsored or school-related events, includingathletic 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) shallbe notified in writing of an opportunity for a hearing; provided,however, that the student may have representation, along with theopportunity to present evidence and witnesses at said hearing before theprincipal.

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

(d) Any student who has been expelled pursuant to these provisionsshall have the right to appeal to the Superintendent. The expelledstudent shall have 10 days from the date of the expulsion in which tonotify the Superintendent of his[/her] appeal. The student has theright to counsel at a hearing before the Superintendent. The subjectmatter of the appeal shall not be limited solely to a factualdetermination of whether the student has violated any provisions of thissection.

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

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

(1) Upon the issuance of a criminal complaint charging a student witha felony or upon the issuance of a felony delinquency complaint againsta student, the principal of a school in which the student is enrolledmay suspend such student for a period of time determined appropriate bysaid principal, if said principal determines that the student’scontinued presence in school would have a substantial detrimental effecton the general welfare of the school. The student shall receivewritten notification of the charges and the reasons for such suspensionprior to such suspension taking effect. The student shall also receivewritten notification of his[/her] right to appeal and the process forappealing such suspension; provided, however, that such suspension shallremain in effect prior to any appeal hearing conducted by theSuperintendent.

The student shall have the right to appeal the suspension to theSuperintendent. The student shall notify the Superintendent in writingof his[/her] request for an appeal no later than five calendar daysfollowing the effective date of the suspension. The Superintendentshall hold a hearing with the student and the student’s parent orguardian within three calendar days of the student’s request for anappeal. At the hearing, the student shall have the right to presentoral and written testimony on his[/her] behalf, and shall have the rightto counsel. The Superintendent shall have the authority to overturn oralter the decision of the principal, including recommending analternate educational program for the student. The Superintendent shallrender a decision on the appeal within five calendar days of thehearing. Such decision shall be the final decision of the city, town orregional school district with regard to the suspension.

(2) Upon a student being convicted of a felony or upon anadjudication or admission in court of guilt with respect to such afelony or felony delinquency, the principal of a school in which thestudent is enrolled may expel said student if such principal determinesthat the student’s continued presence in school would have a substantialdetrimental effect on the general welfare of the school. The studentshall receive written notification of the charges and reasons for suchexpulsion prior to such expulsion taking effect. The student shall alsoreceive written notification of his[/her] right to appeal and theprocess for appealing such expulsion; provided, however, that theexpulsion shall remain in effect prior to any appeal hearing conductedby the Superintendent.

The student shall have the right to appeal the expulsion to theSuperintendent. The student shall notify the Superintendent, inwriting, of his[/her] request for an appeal no later than five calendardays following the effective date of the expulsion. The Superintendentshall hold a hearing with the student and the student’s parent orguardian within three calendar days of the expulsion. At the hearing,the student shall have the right to present oral and written testimonyon his[/her] behalf, and shall have the right to counsel. TheSuperintendent shall have the authority to overturn or alter thedecision of the principal, including recommending an alternateeducational program for the student. The Superintendent shall render adecision on the appeal within five calendar days of the hearing. Suchdecision shall be the final decision of the city, town or regionalschool 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