State law requires districts to limit use of out-of-school suspension and expulsion based on factors such as student age or offense type.
California Education Code 48900 Suspension or Expulsion
(2) Except as provided in Section 48910, a pupil enrolled in kindergarten or any of grades 1 to 3, inclusive, shall not be suspended for any of the acts enumerated in paragraph (1), and those acts shall not constitute grounds for a pupil enrolled in kindergarten or any of grades 1 to 12, inclusive, to be recommended for expulsion. This paragraph is inoperative on July 1, 2020.
California Education Code 48900.5 Suspension or Expulsion
(a) Suspension, including supervised suspension as described in Section 48911.1, shall be imposed only when other means of correction fail to bring about proper conduct. A school district may document the other means of correction used and place that documentation in the pupil’s record, which may be accessed pursuant to Section 49069.7. However, a pupil, including an individual with exceptional needs, as defined in Section 56026, may be suspended, subject to Section 1415 of Title 20 of the United States Code, for any of the reasons enumerated in Section 48900 upon a first offense, if the principal or superintendent of schools determines that the pupil violated subdivision (a), (b), (c), (d), or (e) of Section 48900 or that the pupil’s presence causes a danger to persons. (b) Other means of correction include, but are not limited to, the following: (1) A conference between school personnel, the pupil’s parent or guardian, and the pupil. (2) Referrals to the school counselor, psychologist, social worker, child welfare attendance personnel, or other school support service personnel for case management and counseling. (3) Study teams, guidance teams, resource panel teams, or other intervention-related teams that assess the behavior, and develop and implement individualized plans to address the behavior in partnership with the pupil and the pupil’s parents. (4) Referral for a comprehensive psychosocial or psychoeducational assessment, including for purposes of creating an individualized education program, or a plan adopted pursuant to Section 504 of the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. Sec. 794(a)). (5) Enrollment in a program for teaching prosocial behavior or anger management. (6) Participation in a restorative justice program. (7) A positive behavior support approach with tiered interventions that occur during the schoolday on campus. (8) After school programs that address specific behavioral issues or expose pupils to positive activities and behaviors, including, but not limited to, those operated in collaboration with local parent and community groups. (9) Any of the alternatives described in Section 48900.6.
California Education Code 48903. Duration of suspension
(a) Except as provided in subdivision (g) of Section 48911 and in Section 48912, the total number of days for which a pupil may be suspended from school shall not exceed 20 schooldays in any school year, unless for purposes of adjustment, a pupil enrolls in or is transferred to another regular school, an opportunity school or class, or a continuation education school or class, in which case the total number of schooldays for which the pupil may be suspended shall not exceed 30 days in any school year. (b) For the purposes of this section, a school district may count suspensions that occur while a pupil is enrolled in another school district toward the maximum number of days for which a pupil may be suspended in any school year.
California Education Code 48911. Maximum time period for suspension; Informal conference; “Emergency situation”; “Principal’s designee”
(a) The principal of the school, the principal’s designee, or the district superintendent of schools may suspend a pupil from the school for any of the reasons enumerated in Section 48900, and pursuant to Section 48900.5, for no more than five consecutive schooldays. (b) Suspension by the principal, the principal’s designee, or the district superintendent of schools shall be preceded by an informal conference conducted by the principal, the principal’s designee, or the district superintendent of schools between the pupil and, whenever practicable, the teacher, supervisor, or school employee who referred the pupil to the principal, the principal’s designee, or the district superintendent of schools. At the conference, the pupil shall be informed of the reason for the disciplinary action, including the other means of correction that were attempted before the suspension as required under Section 48900.5, and the evidence against him or her, and shall be given the opportunity to present his or her version and evidence in his or her defense.