The St. Mary Parish School Board shall authorize the superintendent to expel a student from school if an offense committed by the student is serious enough to warrant such action or is in violation of state law. Upon the recommendation for expulsion of a student by the principal, the superintendent or designee shall conduct a hearing to determine whether expulsion or other disciplinary action shall be taken. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, all expulsion hearings should be held within (15) days of the request. At the hearing, the principal and/or teacher concerned may be represented by any person appointed by the superintendent. The concerned teacher shall be permitted to attend and present any relevant information. Until such hearing takes place the student shall remain suspended from the school with access to classwork and the opportunity to earn academic credit. At such hearing the student may be represented by any person of their choice. At the conclusion of the hearing, the superintendent or designee shall determine whether expulsion or if other corrective disciplinary action shall be taken.
This section undated on 10/22/2021 (K. Holmes)
- Parents have the right to appeal the results of all expulsion hearings. The parent, tutor, or guardian of the student may appeal by requesting in writing within five (5) days after the decision to expel or suspend has been rendered, that the board review the findings of the superintendent/or designee at a time set by the board.
- After reviewing the findings of the superintendent, the school board may affirm, modify, or reverse the action of the superintendent or designee.
- Any student who is expelled shall receive no credit for school work missed while he is expelled.
Parental Appeal (District Court)
The parent or tutor/legal guardian of the student who has been recommended for expulsion may, within ten school days, appeal to the district court for the parish in which the student's school is located, an adverse ruling of the school board in upholding the action of the superintendent or his designee. The court may reverse or revise the ruling of the school board upon a finding that the ruling of the board was based on an absence of any relevant evidence in support thereof.
The parent or tutor/legal guardian of the pupil student shall have such right to appeal to the district court even if the recommendation for expulsion is reduced to a suspension. If a judgment is rendered in favor of a student who sought judicial review of a decision of a school board, the judgment may include an award for reasonable attorney fees if the court finds any school official acted in a grossly negligent manner; with deliberate disregard for the consequences of his actions to the student; with willful or malicious indifference; with intent to deprive the student, his parent, guardian, or tutor of due process; or initiated a charge that is knowingly false.
The court may award any damages appropriate under the circumstances and render any other appropriate relief including but not limited to requiring the school board to issue an official apology letter, which shall be provided to the student, his parent, legal guardian, or tutor, and retained in the student's educational records.
This section added on 10/21/2021 (K. Holmes)
State law requires the superintendent to expel a student for minimum periods of time if found guilty of certain offenses, as follows:
- 16 years or older
If, after an appropriate hearing, a student is found guilty of intentional distribution or possession with intent to distribute any illegal narcotic, drug, or controlled substance on school property, on a school bus, or at a school-sponsored event, the student shall be expelled for a minimum of (4) four complete school semesters, unless such student has agreed to participate and/or participates full time in a juvenile drug court program operated by a court of this state as required for such student by the appropriate authority. Such student may be placed by the school system in an alternative education program for suspended and expelled students approved by the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.
- Under 16 years, and in grades 6-12
If, after an appropriate hearing, a student is found guilty of intentional distribution or possession with intent to distribute any illegal narcotic, drug or controlled substance on school property, on a school bus, or at a school-sponsored event, the student shall be expelled for a minimum of (2) two complete school semesters, unless such student has agreed to participate and participates full time in a juvenile drug court program operated by a court of this state as required for such student by the appropriate authority. Such student may be placed by the school system in an alternative education program for suspended and expelled students approved by the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.
- Grades K-5
If, after an appropriate hearing, a student is found guilty of knowledge and intentional distribution of/or possession with intent to distribute any illegal narcotic, drug or other controlled substance on school property, on a school bus, or at a school-sponsored event, the student shall be referred to the school board with recommendation of appropriate action by the Superintendent.
Additional Reasons for Expulsion
Students may also be expelled for any of the following reasons:
- Any student, after being suspended for committing violations of any discipline policies or other rule infractions, depending on the severity of the behavior, may be expelled upon recommendation to the board by the principal.
- Any student, after being suspended on three (3) occasions for committing any weapon, drugs, or knife offense during the same school session, shall, on committing the fourth offense, be expelled from the public schools for a maximum period allowed by state law, subject to review and approval by the School Board.
- A student determined to have brought a weapon to a school under the board's jurisdiction shall be expelled for a minimum period of (4) four complete school semesters. K-5 grades shall be expelled for a minimum period of (2) two complete school semesters. The superintendent may modify the expulsion requirement on a case-by-case basis, providing that such modification is in writing. A weapon, in accordance with federal statues, means a firearm or any device which is designed to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive, the frame or receiver of any such weapon, and a firearm muffler or firearm silencer, or any destructive device.
Readmittance Following Expulsion
- In each case of expulsion, the school principal, or his or her designee, shall contact the parent, tutor, or legal guardian of the student to notify them of the expulsion, the reasons therefore, and establish a date and time for a conference with the principal or designee as a requirement for readmitting the student.
- Notice shall be given by sending a certified letter to the address shown on the student's registration card. Also, additional notification may be made by contacting the parent, tutor, or legal guardian by telephone at the number shown on the student's registration card.
- Also, additional notification may be made by contacting the parent, tutor, or legal guardian by telephone at the number shown on the student's registration card. If the parent, tutor, or legal guardian fails to attend the required conference within five school days of mailing the certified letter, the truancy laws shall become effective.
- On more than one occasion each school year when the parent, tutor, or legal guardian refuses to respond, the principal may determine whether readmitting the pupil is in the best interest of the pupil. On any subsequent occasions in the same year, the pupil shall not be readmitted unless the parent, tutor, legal guardian, court or other appointed representative responds.
- In any case where a teacher, principal, or other school employee is authorized to require the parent, tutor, or legal guardian of a pupil who is under the age of eighteen and not judicially emancipated or emancipated by marriage to attend a conference or meeting regarding the pupil's behavior and, after notice, the parent, tutor, or legal guardian willfully refuses to attend, the principal or designee shall file a complaint in accordance with statutory provisions with a court exercising juvenile jurisdiction.
- Any student expelled from school because he or she was in possession of a firearm on school property or because of illegal narcotics, drugs, or other controlled substance on school property, on a school bus, or at a school event may be readmitted to school on a probationary basis at any time during the expulsion period on such terms and conditions as may be stipulated by the school board.
- Readmission to school on a probationary basis shall be contingent on the student and legal guardian or custodian agreeing in writing to the terms and conditions stipulated by the school board. Any such agreement shall contain a provision for immediate removal of the student from school premises without benefit of a hearing or other procedure upon the principal or superintendent determining the student has violated any condition agreed to.
- As soon as possible, the principal or designee shall provide verbal notice to the superintendent of schools of any such determination and also shall attempt to provide such verbal notice to the student's parent or other person responsible for the student's school attendance. The principal or designee shall also provide proper notification in writing of the termination and reasons for removal to the superintendent and the student's parent or legal guardian or other responsible person.
- A student who has been expelled from any public or nonpublic school in or out of state shall not be admitted to a school in the school system except upon review and approval of the school board following the request for admission.
- To facilitate the review and approval for re-admittance, the student shall provide to the board information on the dates of any expulsions and the reasons therefore. Additionally, transfer of student records to any school or system shall include information on the dates of any expulsions and the reasons therefore.
- A student who has been expelled from any school in or out of state for possessing on school property or on a bus a firearm, knife, or other dangerous weapon or instrumentality customarily used or intended for
probable use as a dangerous weapon, or possessing or possession with intent to distribute or distributing, selling, giving, or lending while on school property or a school bus any controlled dangerous substance governed by the Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Law, shall not be readmitted to any school until the student has enrolled and participated in an appropriate rehabilitation or counseling program related to the reason(s) for the expulsion.
- The rehabilitation or counseling programs shall be provided by such programs approved by the juvenile or family court having jurisdiction, if applicable, or by the School Board. The requirement for enrollment and participation in a rehabilitation or counseling program shall be waived only upon the student attesting in writing that no appropriate program is available in the area or that the student cannot enroll or participate due to financial hardship.
The superintendent or designee shall have the authority to modify expulsion requirements on a case by case basis, providing that the modifications are in writing. Additionally, the court has the authority to limit the length of certain expulsions for criminal behavior to the student's period of adjudication.