What is an Expulsion?

An expulsion is when you are excluded from the school building, your regular classroom, and school activities for more than 90 days. An expulsion can’t last longer than one calendar year, unless you and your guardian agree to have it last longer than a year. Expulsion can only be used as a last resort after attempts are made to re-engage you in the learning experience.

(BPS Code of Conduct, Section 12.1, p.42)

The following offenses can get you expelled for up to one calendar year:

  • Possession of a firearm or weapon, like a knife

  • Felony conviction, if your presence at school would have a “substantial detrimental effect” on the school’s general welfare

  • Assaulting educational staff

  • Possession of a controlled substance, like marijuana or alcohol

(Source: BPS COC, Section 7.1.3, p. 22, MA G.L. c. 71, §§37H)


Can I be expelled forever?

Not usually. For possessing a dangerous weapon, possessing a controlled substance, or assaulting staff, you can only be expelled for up to one calendar year. But, for a felony conviction, you can be excluded from school as long as your principal finds that you being in school would have a “substantial detrimental effect on the general welfare of the school.” Your period of expulsion, consisting of placement in an alternative program, won't exceed one calendar year without your/your guardian's consent. A decision regarding your ability to return to that school must be made by your school when they decide to expel you.

(BPS COC, 12.1, p. 42)

Before You're Expelled:

When you commit an expellable offense and you can't be emergency suspended your school must hold a suspension hearing. The idea is that they will suspend you from school pending the expulsion hearing. At the suspension hearing, you can be suspended for up to three days if you are younger than 15 years old and up to five days if you are 15 years old or older. The school may also want to assign you to the Counselling and Intervention Center, in addition to the suspension. While you're in the Counselling and Intervention Center you must be allowed to make up assignments and earn credits while you are away (including homework, exams, quizzes papers, or projects you missed

(BPS COC, 7.11.2, p. 28).

You will be marked “constructively present” while you are on suspension or at the CIC. That means it isn’t an unexcused absence. If you have an IEP and you're sent to the CIC twice the Office of Special Education will look into your case

(BPS COC, 7.11.3, p. 28., BPS COC, Section 13.4, p. 46)

School staff has to do TWO things before they can expel you:


Tell you and your parent/guardian in writing that they need to meet to discuss possible expulsion and the date, time, and place of the hearing. This has to be in writing (in English and the language spoken in your home). It must completely describe your alleged offense, all your procedural rights, and (if you request it) a state of the facts and evidence in you

(Section 13.3,p. 48)


Hold a hearing where you meeting with school staff, probably a principal or vice principal. At this hearing, you will have a chance to explain your side of the story. The school has to try to get in touch with your parent/guardian at least twice. If your parent/guardian wants to attend but can’t make the scheduled the time, or can’t be reached, the hearing needs to be delayed for up to 48 hours. 

(BPS COC Section 13.4, p. 50)

You have a right to STAY IN SCHOOL until the school gives you notice and holds the hearing or until the school places you under an emergency suspension.

Standards for Expulsion:

(BPS COC, 13.4,p. 50)

Your rights during your expulsion hearing are the same as your suspension hearing rights.

  • To expel you, the Building Administrator and the Operational Leader have t find that it is more likely than not that you committed an expellable offense and that your due process rights were respected like giving and your parent notice – correctly.

  • The school must exercise discretion in deciding to expel you. That means that they have to consider ways to re-engage you in your learning, and they must avoid expelling you until other remedies and consequences have been tried and documented.

(BPS COC, Section 13.2, p. 48)

  • If your school decides to expel you, the principal must send a Request for Review form to the Operational Leader of your school along with the audio recording.

  • The Operational Leader has to look at everything the Building Administrator presented, and decide whether they agree with the Building Administrator’s decision to expel you. The Operational Leader should deny your expulsion if either there isn’t enough evidence that you committed an expellable offense, or if the school made any procedural errors, like not telling you when the hearing was or giving you a chance to get a lawyer or translator .The school has to tell you and your parent her/his decision within five school days. If the Operational Leader is agreeing to expel you, it has to be in writing.

Appealing your Expulsion:

If you are expelled and you disagree, you can appeal the decision to the superintendent of Boston Public Schools. You have to file the appeal within 10 SCHOOL DAYS of your suspension.

Your appeal will be heard by someone in the superintendent’s office, called a Hearing Officer. The Hearing Officer will schedule the appeal hearing within three days after getting your request. The Hearing Officer has to schedule it when you, your parents, your lawyer or advocate (if you have one), and any witnesses you want to come, can be there.

The Appeal Hearing:

  • This will be audio-recorded by the Hearing Officer.

  • First, the Hearing Officer will ask the principal at your school to present the case against you.

  • Then the Hearing Officer and you will have a chance to ask the principal questions.

  • You can present witnesses and testimony. You can also ask questions of any witnesses the school brings. You can bring a lawyer or advocate if you want.

(BPS COC, Exhibit 3, p. 38)

Students with Disabilities

If your school is trying to expel you, first, the school has to conduct a Manifest Determination Review (MDR), just as they have to for suspensions.

(BPS COC, Section 15,5)

If You're Expelled:

The District still has to provide you alternative educational services while you are expelled. This may be home study, an adult education program, or an alternative program. 

(BPS COC, 13.9, p. 52)