• The Board of Trustees believes that one of the major functions of the public schools is the preparation of youth for responsible citizenship. The district shall foster a learning environment that reinforces the concepts of self-discipline and the acceptance of personal responsibility. In order to maintain an environment conducive to attaining the highest of quality of education in the district, there must exist certain disciplinary policies and regulations relating to student conduct which delineate acceptable behavior and provide the basis for sound disciplinary practices within each school in the district. When appropriate, schools will find alternatives to suspension and/or expulsion, and will implement restorative practices to rebuild the harm done to the school community. 

Parent/Guardian Guide to Suspension and Expulsion

  • Suspension and Expulsion

    A student may be suspended or expelled if he/she commits an act under California Education Code Section 48900 through 48915(c)(5). When it is determined that the student committed such an act, the school administration meets with student and parent(s), unless a meeting is not feasible.

    • Students may be suspended for 1-5 days.
    • Students may be offered an alternative discipline intervention in lieu of 1 or more days of suspension.
    • Students may return to school on a behavior contract signed by the school administrator, parent/guardian and student.

    If the Ed Code violation warrants further investigation, an administrative review, or a recommendation for expulsion is mandated, a second meeting is scheduled with the Director of Student Services. This meeting generally results in one of three actions:

    • The student returns to school under a Formal Reprimand Contract
    • The student is involuntarily transferred to the continuation school, another school within the District, or a County program.
    • The student may be recommended for expulsion. If a student is recommended for expulsion, the suspension will be extended until the hearing date.

    Recommendation for Expulsion

    If a student is recommended for expulsion, a Notice of Hearing providing the details of the hearing and the hearing process will be mailed to the parent/guardian. An expulsion hearing will be held by the Board of Trustees. After hearing the evidence, the Board of Trustees will make a determination as to whether the student should:

    • Not be expelled, in which case the student returns to their school of residence.
    • Be expelled, but the expulsion is suspended and the student remains at their assigned school or involuntarily transferred to another school within the District.
    • Be expelled to the San Mateo County Office of Education’s Court & Community School.

    Expulsion Hearing Information

    A student remains on extended suspension during the hearing process and must remain away from all school campuses and activities (Discipline and Intervention Matrix).

    The expulsion hearing must be held within 30 school days after a determination has been made that the student committed an act under CA Ed Code Section 48900 through 48915(c)(5). Parents will be notified by mail of the date and time of the hearing no later than 10-days prior to the scheduled hearing date.

    The parent(s) and student should attend the Expulsion Hearing. However, the Expulsion Hearing will proceed in their absence unless a postponement is requested in writing. A student is allowed one postponement for a period of no more than 30 calendar days. This request must be made in writing and submitted to the Director of Student Services. A postponement may affect the date which the Board is available to reconvene, and the length of time the student is on suspension awaiting a final decision.

    If a student enrolls in another district during the hearing process, parents are required to inform the new district that the student has an expulsion hearing pending.

    The expulsion hearing is conducted during a closed session of the Board of Trustees unless the parent/student requests in writing at least five (5) days prior to the hearing that they want a public hearing. A recording of the proceedings will be made.

    Students and parents are welcome to bring a witness or witnesses to represent their case in the expulsion hearing. Families may bring an advocate. Families may also bring an attorney; however, the District requires five (5) days' notice if an attorney will be attending, in which case the District will also have legal representation. The definition of an attorney is someone registered with the State Bar to practice law.

    Whether the expulsion hearing is conducted in closed or public session, the final action to expel shall be taken by the Board at a public meeting. The Director of Student Services will notify the parent of the Board’s decision.

    In Case of Expulsion

    If a student is expelled, he/she will receive a Rehabilitation Plan which sets out the requirements for readmission. A Rehabilitation Plan may include such things as

    • Recommendation for improved academic performance, or tutoring;
    • Special Education Assessments;
    • Counseling;
    • Community Service;
    • Restitution;
    • Drug Testing;
    • Completion of an essay; and/or
    • Other item(s) as determined by the Board of Trustees.

    Near the end of the term of the expulsion, the student will be allowed to apply for readmission. Readmission is not automatic, but contingent on the student’s compliance with the Rehabilitation Plan. Students on a suspended expulsion must also apply for readmission.


    Student and parent/guardian(s) must submit a readmission request and proof of residency and meet with the Readmission Panel. The Readmission Panel makes a recommendation to the Board, who makes the final decision in closed session as to whether the student will be:

    • Readmitted; OR
    • Allowed to return to a District school under a suspended expulsion; OR
    • Not readmitted.

    The decision of the Board will be announced during the open session. Student names are not used, only case numbers. Student Services will notify the parent of the decision by mail. Parents may contact the Student Services office the day following the Board meeting.

    • Students not readmitted have their expulsion period extended another semester and are allowed to re-apply for admission near the end of this period.
    • Students who are readmitted are required to sign behavior contracts upon return to a District school

    Expulsion Terms

    Stipulated Expulsion: An expulsion order that is agreed upon without going to a formal expulsion hearing. Student, parents, and school district officials sign the agreement, and the student and parents waive their right to a hearing. All stipulated agreements must be approved by the Board of Education.

    Full Expulsion: A student is expelled and cannot attend classes at the comprehensive school site. The student is typically offered educational placement through the San Mateo County Office of Education.

    Suspended Expulsion: A student is expelled from the District; however, the expulsion is “suspended”, thus allowing the student to remain at a comprehensive school site within our District under the suspended expulsion and a behavior contract.

    Discipline of Special Education Students

    A specialized set of suspension and expulsion procedures apply to students in special education or being considered for special education. To change a placement for more than 10 school days or to make a recommendation for expulsion due to misconduct, the school must hold an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meeting to make a manifestation determination.

    The student and parent are invited to the manifestation determination meeting. The parent may also invite an advocate or their attorney. A finding of manifestation means that the behavior was caused by the disability or the improper implementation of their IEP. If this is the case, a different set of procedures apply. If not, the student may be disciplined in the same way as a student without disabilities.

    For more information about the discipline process for students with an IEP, please contact the Director of Special Education at 650-558-2265.

    Suspension Guidelines

    While on suspension from school, the following rules apply:

    • A suspended student may not interfere with any student, student activity or any school activity of any school campus in the San Mateo Union High School District during school or during any time that students are under the jurisdiction of the school.

    • Students are not allowed at any actual school-sponsored functions at any of the school sites.

    • If the student is on school grounds or attends a school-sponsored event while on suspension, the student is subject to arrest by local law enforcement and subject to further disciplinary action by the school.

    • Students must complete school/class work while on suspension. Parent/Guardian(s) should collect school/homework at the school office. Please contact your school's assistant principal and/or counselor to request work and arrange for pick-up.

    Alternatives to Expulsion - Restorative Practices 

    • Alternative to Suspension (ATS) is a one-day option for a suspension where a student engages in therapeutic activities designed to address both the disciplinary incident that caused the suspension; engage in restorative practices; and reflect on their progress and engagement with school.

    • Brief Intervention Program (BIP) is a level-one intervention to address a first-time infraction of school rules related to smoking, drinking or substance use on campus.

    • The Substance Use Program (SUP) is a level-two, six week counseling group led by a licensed therapist to address more significant issues around drug and alcohol abuse.

    • The Vape Awareness, Prevention, & Education (VAPE) program is a level-two, two week counseling group led by a licensed therapist to address more significant issues around vaping and tobacco use.

    • Social Media Awareness and Cyberbullying prevention classes.

    • Sexual Harassment and Misconduct prevention classes.  


    For additional information, please contact: 
    Don Scatena, Director Student Services
    650 N. Delaware Street, San Mateo CA 94401
    650-558-2257   |   dscatena@smuhsd.org 


    Additional Resources