An expulsion is when a school removes a student from school for more than 10 days in a row. When a student is expelled, they will usually be suspended first for up to 10 days.
A school may expel a student for any amount of time from 11 days to 2 years. This applies to students of all ages. However, expulsions of students with disabilities have different rules.
An expulsion is only allowed if the school has attempted other interventions and they haven't worked and the:
- Student's presence in school would be a threat to school safety
- Student's presence in school would disrupt the other student's learning experience
Schools may expel a student who brings a gun, knife, brass knuckles, billy club, or other weapon to school or to a school event, or uses one of these items to cause harm. However, the school superintendent or the school board may modify this rule on a case by case basis.
Schools are not allowed to have zero tolerance policies. This means that a school can't have a policy in which students are required to be expelled for certain behaviors. A student may be expelled for a wide range of misconduct, such as:
- Disobeying school staff
- Leaving the school without permission
- Being caught with cigarettes or lighters
- Damaging school property
- Using pagers or cell phones without permission
- Cheating or copying the work of another student or other source
- Bullying, or using threats, intimidation, or violence
- Gang activity
- Turning on the fire alarm when there is no fire
- Making bomb threats
- Stealing or bringing stolen goods to school
- Using or bringing fireworks to school
- Inappropriate sexual conduct
The school board decides when and for how long to expel a student. However, an expulsion cannot be longer than 2 years in Illinois. The school must have a policy in place to handle a student's return to school after an expulsion or after returning from an alternative school setting.
In some situations, the school may also call the police. For details, see your school district’s disciplinary handbook, which you and your child should have received at the beginning of the school year. Many school districts also post their disciplinary handbook online.
If a student is expelled, the school board must provide the student and parents with a written decision after the hearing. This written decision must give the specific reasons why removing the student from the learning environment is in the best interests of the school. This decision must also explain why the student was expelled for that particular length of time.