Changes to School Discipline

Applies to all public K-12 schools including charter schools.

Short-Term Suspensions

  • A suspension is a removal from school for 10 days or less.
  • A short-term suspension is 3 days or less and may only be used if the continuing presence of the student is a threat to school safety OR a disruption to other student’s learning opportunities.
  • Schools must give a statement in writing that explains the reason for the suspension and the length of the suspension.
  • You have the right to appeal suspensions.

Long-Term Suspensions and Expulsions

  • An expulsion is a removal from school for more than 10 days for gross disobedience or misconduct.
  • Before long-term suspensions (4-10 days), expulsions, and disciplinary removal to alternative schools, all appropriate and available behavioral interventions must be exhausted.
  • These measures may only be used if the students’ continuing presence in school would either: pose a threat to the safety of other students, staff, or members of the school community; or substantially disrupt, impede, or interfere with the operation of the school.

Did You Know?

  • The School Board must provide the students with a hearing before an expulsion takes place.
  • Following the Hearing, if the Board wishes to expel the student it must provide a written detailed decision on why removing the student is in the School’s best interest and the reason behind the length of the expulsion.
  • Students can request to transfer to alternative programs if they are expelled.
  • You can have a lawyer or advocate present during the expulsion hearing.
  • School Districts must create policies to help re-engage students who are suspended out-of-school, expelled, or returning from an alternative school setting.
  • Students have the right to make up work while they are suspended.
  • You cannot be fined or asked to pay a fee as a form of discipline.
  • School officials cannot encourage students to drop out.

More questions? Facing suspension or expulsion?

Call us the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights (312) 630-9744.
For more information on the Education Equity Project of Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights visit