Resources: Expulsions and Suspensions

Expulsions and Suspensions

Fair School Funding

Expulsions and Suspensions

Equal Access

Expulsions and Suspensions

School to Prison Pipeline

  • This fact sheet applies to young children in all preschool settings in Pennsylvania, including child care and daycare centers, Early Intervention, Head Start, private academic schools (PDE-licensed preschools), and school district pre-kindergarten. If one of these school settings seeks to suspend or expel your child, here are some things you should know about your rights.

    You can learn more about those rights here.

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  • This toolkit was developed to assist families and advocates to respond to efforts to suspend or expel students. It applies to all public schools (including charter schools) in Pennsylvania. If a school district or charter school seeks to suspend or expel your child or send them to an alternative education for disruptive youth (AEDY) setting, you may find this toolkit helpful.

    Learn more here.

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  • This fact sheet describes the process for determining if your child, as an English learner (EL), is appropriately and legally placed in an Alternative Education for Disruptive Youth (AEDY) program and, if not, how to return your child to an appropriate placement in your local school district.

    To learn more, click here.

    To learn more about general rights applicable to all students who may be placed in AEDY, see our Alternative Education for Disruptive Youth fact sheet.

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  • This fact sheet describes the process for determining if your child with disabilities is appropriately and legally placed in an Alternative Education for Disruptive Youth (AEDY) program and, if not, how to return your child to an appropriate placement in your local school district in the least restrictive environment. The fact sheet outlines special rights applicable to your child as a child with a disability ― that is, a child who has or is eligible for an IEP or Section 504 Plan.

    To learn more, click here.

    To learn more about general rights applicable to all students who may be placed in AEDY, see our Alternative Education for Disruptive Youth fact sheet.

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  • This fact sheet addresses your child’s rights if:
    • A school wants to move your child to a different education program because of discipline;
    • Your child currently attends an alternative school or program for disciplinary reasons; or
    • You are seeking to have your child return to a regular classroom from an alternative program.

    Click here to learn more.

    You may also be interested in our guides on Alternative Education for Students with Disabilities or Alternative Education for Multilingual Learners.

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  • This fact sheet provides information for parents and guardians on the rules and procedures for student suspensions in all public schools, including charter schools, in Pennsylvania.

    A suspension is an exclusion from school for one to ten school days in a row. Even a suspension for part of a day constitutes one day of suspension. A suspension may be imposed by a principal or other person in charge of a school.

    If a school district or charter school seeks to suspend your child, you can learn more about what to do here.

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  • This FAQ explains a law known as Act 110, which concerns students who are convicted or adjudicated delinquent of sexual assault. The law became effective on January 3, 2021, and does not apply to convictions or adjudications occurring prior to that effective date.

    This state law was enacted to protect student survivors/victims of sexual assault, and it applies to all public schools. The law requires a student convicted or adjudicated delinquent of sexual assault against a student in the same school entity to be transferred to another school, placed in alternative education for disruptive youth, or expelled from the same school entity under certain circumstances.

    You can learn more here.

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  • A new report recommending strategies for policy makers to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline and address disparities in school discipline was issued by the Pennsylvania Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights in April 2021. The report, which draws on testimony from 20 local and national experts at two public briefing sessions, is called “Disparate and Punitive Impact of Exclusionary Practices on Students of Color, Students with Disabilities and LGBTQ Students in Pennsylvania Public Schools.”

    The report presents data illustrating the discriminatory nature of exclusionary discipline and its disruptive and harmful impact. Recommendations include banning exclusionary discipline for nonviolent offenses, implementing positive behavioral supports and trauma-informed restorative practices, improving data collection, and increasing funding to devote to creating positive school climates. ELC executive director Deborah Gordon Klehr served as a member of the advisory committee.

    Read the report here.

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  • Despite prohibiting the suspension of Kindergarten students, the School District of Philadelphia continues to suspend students in first through fifth grades at alarming rates. (more…)

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  • In October 2015, the Education Law Center submitted comments to the Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) on their draft of a proposed policy announcement: “Reduction of Suspensions and Expulsions in Early Childhood Programs in Pennsylvania (15-#1)” [.doc]. The draft announcement was based, in part, on the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services and Education policy guidance on the issue, released in December 2014: Policy Statement on Expulsion and Suspension in Early Childhood Settings.

    ELC’s comments, available below, were informed by our expertise advocating for the rights of the most vulnerable children birth through age twenty one and our extensive experience listening to the hundreds of children and families we have served each year for the past four decades. These public comments are part of ELC’s larger body of work focused on reducing exclusionary discipline that is disproportionately used on vulnerable populations and dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline that pushes at-risk youth into the juvenile and criminal justice systems.

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  • Act 26 is a Pennsylvania law which requires the expulsion for at least one year of any student who possesses a weapon on school property, at a school function, or going to and from school.  Many students have faced expulsion as a result of this law. Review the complete fact sheet for more information.

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  • A fact sheet providing information for parents and guardians on the rules and procedures for student expulsions from school district and charter schools.

    While public schools have wide latitude to create rules, they must follow their own rules. Thus, a school can only expel a student for a violation of a school rule if the school has officially adopted and distributed the rule. School rules should be listed in a published Code of Student Conduct that should be given to all students and parents.

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