Suspensions and Expulsions

San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) is proactively attempting to reduce the number of suspensions and expulsions in the district. Educating students, parents and staff about offenses leading to suspension and expulsion is essential to achieving our goal of consistently enforcing student discipline policies while reducing suspensions and expulsions. Though it is important for students to be held accountable for their conduct, it is equally important for students and families to know their rights to appeal and to understand the appeal process.

More information on suspensions and expulsions, including district efforts to reduce them, can be found on the district's Student Discipline Web page. If you have specific questions, please contact the CSO, counselor or principal.


Teachers are expected to go over classroom rules and to alert students to the consequences of their behavior. Teachers have the right to suspend a student from their class for the remainder of the day that an incident occurs and during the following day (California Education Code 48910). When a student is removed from class under those circumstances, principal and parent notification is required, and teachers may assign work to be completed by the student at home.

Students may be suspended at the discretion of the principal, or principal's designee, for several reasons, including offenses relating to fighting, drugs or alcohol, robbery, obscenity, disruption/defiance, sexual harassment or possession of an imitation firearm. Out-of-school, or formal, suspension means students are not allowed to be on campus during the period of suspension except for official meetings relating to their suspension. In-school suspension usually means that a student is sent to a particular area at the school where they are monitored by school staff. In-school suspensions may be used as an alternative consequence before rising to the level of a formal suspension.


Offenses involving firearms, brandishing knives, explosives, sexual assault and/or sexual battery, and selling controlled/prohibited substances always result in a recommendation for expulsion. Although the Zero Tolerance Policy is for secondary students (middle, junior and senior high) only, some of the guidelines still apply to elementary students, and certain offenses outlined by the ED Code always result in a recommendation for expulsion. The Board of Education may expel a student after an Expulsion Review Hearing Panel recommends expulsion. Only the Board of Education may expel a student.

In Lieu of Expulsion Process for Elementary Students

For serious offenses that do not require mandatory expulsion, the principal may choose to lead a multidisciplinary team to determine appropriate interventions in lieu of expulsion for elementary students. Students who commit offenses in this category are suspended for five (5) days and required to participate in activities designed to address their poor conduct. Intervention activities may include daily contact between the school and the student's parents, referral to a district counselor or a community agency, parent education classes, behavior contracts, tutoring or other academic interventions, a review of the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for Special Education students or other available interventions.

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