Expelled: He's been expelled . . . I don't know what to do


New Member
I just found this forum, and am hoping I can get some recommendations from you all . . . This is going to be long, but background is needed. To start, my son was diagnosed with ADHD, ODD, intermittent explosive disorder, mild anxiety and depression when he was 8 years old. I fought the school district prior to, asking for special help for my child; got the run around, finally got private testing done which they agreed to accept and an IEP was implemented. He also began on Wellbutrin. Shortly thereafter, I became very ill, had surgery 2 times in 2 months, and his father filed a motion for custody. No longer the optimal parent because of my illness, I sent him to live with his dad while maintaining very active visitation.

Then find out his dad thinks I'm nuts for ever getting him tested, the only problem is "bad mothering" and that is why behavior improved when he moved in with him. Of course, it really was because measures were in place for him in school and the medication was having good effects. Continuing a couple years down the road, child is 10, grades have improved and no substantial problems other than "fitting in". School motions to dismiss him from Special Education program, that Gage's disability no longer interrupts with his ability to learn, father agrees, he is removed from program. Shortly thereafter father discontinues medications AND counseling. Grades start to slip, social problem occur at school, child starts getting detentions and suspensions. On an impulsive act (and because his father left it lying around), child brings knife to school - wants to show kids who have been picking on him the knife so they'll think he's "cool" and leave him alone. Never wanted to use it on anyone. After getting it to school, decides against it, and puts it in his locker for the day. Between classes, another child sees the knife in his locker and turns him in. No tolerance for weapons - he's expelled. This is a small town school - they gave me no recommendations for programs or on how to continue his education other than "get him a tutor and some counseling". Gee, thanks.

I have filed a motion with the courts to return custody to myself. I live in a larger school district, and am currently calling everyone I can to find if they have a program I can get him into (they will honor the other school's expulsion). Not having much luck even getting return phone calls. Since he was "disqualified" from Special Education, I don't know what my options are and I'm getting help from no one! I doubt I'll find anyone to accept a 12 yo child in daycare, and there is NO WAY I'll leave him at home while I work; there is no way I cannot work; and he MUST continue his education. Any suggestions on what I can possibly do?


You've got a difficult situation.

Children under the protection of IDEA (IEP), have safeguards for assessing whether behavior is a manifestation of their disorder. Even with-that, something like bringing a knife to school can be a mega problem.

More info needed. For what length of time has he been expelled?


New Member
365 days. The problem I seem to facing: There are plenty of programs for kids in special education who have been expelled for one reason or another, which is not related to their disorder. There is nothing, no day school, no altnerative programs, nothing, that I can find for a child who was not currently enrolled in special education, regardless if they should've been (which he should've been - they were way too quick to remove him from the program, in my humble opinion).

Has anyone else been in this situation, and what did you do for care and education for your child?


I've emailed Marti and Lizz to take a look at this thread -- hope they can pop in soon. They both have a great deal of experience in dealing with-complex sp ed problems. They may know some caveats that would be helpful for you.

There is some terminology in the federal regs that indicate the school district should have known difficult child needed to be in sp ed because he's previously had an IEP. In cases like this, continuing his education in a more restrictive environment may have been an option -- still may be. But again, a weapon in school is a huge problem to overcome all on its own.

I'd recommend that you consult with with an attorney that specializes in Special Education Law ASAP. There may be some timelines regarding appeals that you are not aware of.

Best of luck. Keep us posted.


I'm not an expert.. but the fact that he has had behavior problems means that he qualifies AGAIN for Special Education.-- irregardless of anything that happened in the past.

Also- you don't seem to be aware that the school district in which he lives has a legal obligation to provide education for him. They cannot refuse to provide an education. The question is where and when. Also, this education must be in the "least restrictive environment" (LRE)- they can't say that they'll send a tutor to your house for 5 hours a week or something indefinitely. Though they conceivably could do something like that until testing and a placement is worked out.

You might also look at the SD and state laws re violence in schools. They are likely to cite these laws as why he was expelled. It would be good for you to be familiar with them.

FYI- I know several kids who have brought something like this to school and put it in a locker. Yours is hardly the first. If you fight hard enough you can get him back in maistream. The SD will probably want to put him in an alternative school which isn't necessarily a bad thing- would get him a lot more therapy.



I was asked to respond to this post.

I am sorry to disagree with OTE but a child NOT in Special Education can be expelled for 365 days or forever for that matter.

in my opinion the only hope is that the school "should have known" that there could be a problem because of the prior history of an IEP. Where we have information on this provision of the law is under the post "It's that time of year again" which is about protections for children not YET eligible. A good Special Education att'y MIGHT get some traction with this line of reasoning but it's not a sure thing.

Further to clarify for interested parties, IF a child's behavior is NOT a manifestation of the disability, then "normal" disciplinary procedures may be used EXCEPT that no Special Education child may be expelled (permanently unloaded as the school district's responsibility)--It's easy to see why, if s.d.s had any option to expel SpEd kids permanently, they would. However, as Alisha pointed out, a change of placement to a more restrictive setting can be part of the provision of services AFTER a 10 day suspension. Any suspension greater than 10 days constitues a change of placement for a SpEd child--and services must be continuted in the alternativer placement to a maximum of 45 days if a weapon or drugs are involved.

Another part of the problem is that the father discontinued medication. The school district has no obligation here and will "blame the parent" which may actually be true--however, it is the son who will suffer the consequences of the father's actions.

by the way, what was the original categorical SpEd label? If it was SED, then there is a stronger case for the s.d. "should have known" argument. If it was Learning Disability (LD), then the s.d. would probably not accept any responsibility for behavior. Another issue is the reason he brought the knife: he was afraid of bullies but s.d. won't touch this in my opinion. I predict sometime a bullying case will get to the Supreme Court but not any time soon and certainly not soon enough to help the children represented on this board.

Alisha is right, this is a catastrophically bad situation for you and your son. This is why parents SHOULD NOT remove kids from SpEd even if they only keep "consultative services or mothly check-in."

My own difficult child is "still" in Special Education even tho' he has no academic needs at present and attends a private (regular ed but meeting his artistic needs) school. I will not allow him to be removed from my s.d.'s Special Education rolls until he graduates from h.s. "just in case."

I know that this piece of information is of no use to you but I hope other parents will learn why it is important to hang onto the label--even if the child feels a bit stigmatized--because of the severity of the consequences if an adolescent acts out in this way.

I would contact child protective services for a recommendation for educating your son. You need to get custody obviously and part of the reason may be his father isn't sending him to school. But then you are obligated to send your son to school per truancy laws. I am not a lawyer, but in these cases, I've never been able to figure out how a s.d. can "force" a parent into breaking the truancy laws through expulsiion with nbo alternative placement. by the way what state do you live in? That makes a difference, too.

The only other solution I can think of is private placement in a therapeutic school but this would be extremely costly--and is beyond the means of most normal families--Lizz might be more helpful than me here since she knows more about funding.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

Post again if you would like and e-mail me.


The "It's that time of the year" thread was lost in the server change. An attempt to reconstruct it is the "Protections for children not yet eligible for special education thread." It's either in this forum or the Sp Ed Archives.


New Member
I really haven't ever dealt with this kind of issue. So I can't be much help eith the issue. Although I do very,very,very strongly recommend that you get copies of every letter, every kind of paper sent and received. And check your state laws about recording phone conversations and personal conversations and make sure to record them if it is ok. This is in case you need any extra ammo. Sometimes you will be told something and then they will say we never said that. You would have evidence against them then. And more power on your side.
up please


The post Alisha referred to is not in the Special Education Archives. I found it and "upped" it for those who need it.

We probably whould archive it but people do get used to "having it around"

I'll do whatever "y'all" want.


Active Member
when my son was in 8th grade, he was on the school bus when another child handed him a knife. he took it and hid it but another child told the bus driver. after a hearing, my son was expelled from school. the school told me to find alternate education and after I had proven that I had tried with no success, they would then home school him.
I called many schools, their policy was not to accept expelled kids. so I had to then write to the school to set up homeschooling.
they then put out the call for teachers and two offered. my son was homeschooled by those teachers twice a week in core subjects only. he was also ordered by the school board to seek psychiatric care. I took him to a psychologist and he was not readmitted to the school until the psychologist wrote them a letter saying he was ok.

the child who handed him a knife was suspended for a few days but because he was in the Special Education program he was not expelled. he was however, reduced to half day of school and had to have an aide with him at all times after that.

by the way the next year my son was also expelled in 9th grade for a veiled threat to a teacher. he was immediately removed from my home and the district attorney got involved. I called THIRTY schools, none would accept an expelled student. I finally managed to find two very strict small Christian schools who agreed to take him. he spent that year in a Baptist school run by two ex-marines. he did very well there, but refused to return the next year.

so you may find that the school district will homeschool or you may find Christian schools who will accept him.
I feel sorry for you, I know it drove me nuts searching for help!

mary 317

New Member
I found this link to an atty who helps with what you are talking about. I'm not sure where they are or where you are from but maybe they can give you some advice
Good Luck



New Member
Just wanted to let everyone know how things were going. I appreciate everyone's responses, you've been very helpful. I tried to locate a special education attorney in my area, but there doesn't seem to be one . . . unfortunately, I could sell everything I own and mortgage away everything I'll make in the future and still not be able to afford one.

I did write my appeal letter, now I'm waiting on the hearing. My letter:

This letter is to serve as an appeal in the expulsion of difficult child. I am requesting the expulsion be repealed or modified for the benefit of the child. Please consider the following:

In 1999, difficult child was transferred to the * School District. At the time, difficult child was enrolled in the special education program with the protections of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) due to, among other diagnoses, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). In 2002, the school system removed difficult child from the special education program, indicating his ADHD was no longer significantly interfering with his ability to learn.

Under the IDEA, schools are obligated to identify and evaluate children suspected of having a disability, even if they are progressing from grade to grade. In this particular case, the * School District knew the child had a disability, and despite the decline in grades and appropriate behaviors at school, failed to implement the appropriate Individual Education Plan (IEP) and other safeguards for the welfare of the child. * School District's responsibility to difficult child under the IDEA did not end when they removed him from the special education program.

Had difficult child been enrolled in the proper Special Education program at the time, safeguards would have been in place that could have prevented the incident, including regular meetings with a counselor. difficult child may have not felt comfortable discussing his harassment by other students with school office staff, such as the principal, due to their roles as disciplinarian figures. In addition, if difficult child had been enrolled in Special Education, and was then expelled, several programs available through the school cooperative would have been available to him, including day school programs that restrict their enrollments to special education students.

ADHD often lends to poor decision making because the child is impulsive, and often cannot follow the thought process through to the consequences. What difficult child did was an impulsive act for which he did not immediately understand the consequences; he has already submitted his written statement of apology.

As educators, I am sure you can understand why the present ruling of 365 days expulsion with no alternative education programs available is detrimental for this child. I am asking the * School District to consider the above information in repealing or modifying GFG’s expulsion. In addition, the school district should make every effort to recommend and/or make available for difficult child any alternative education programs that are available, including those reserved for special education students.

Respectfully submitted,

Whether or not this letter and the hearing will help, I don't know but we'll see.

Meanwhile, the Boys and Girls Club in our community has a day school for children who have been expelled, and he'll receive credit so he won't be held back a grade. I was very hesitant about this at first (it's in the heart of a bad neighborhood); I visited the facility and met with the director and teachers and they are wonderful! The students there seemed to be a lot like difficult child - same dress, same demeanor, seems like he'll fit right in. He's been there 2 days and (except for the fact that he still does schoolwork :D) He absolutely loves it. I am so glad to find this alternative, though I would still rather have him in a program especially designed for students like him.

Must prepare for that appeal hearing. Everyone take care!


Great letter!

Sounds like you've found a good placement for him also, even if it's temporary.

Let us know how it goes.
i also need some help my son david who is 11y/o adhd since age5 medication rollercoasters bipolar since age 8 and i swear conduct and seasonal disorder... this year 6th grade has been the worse suspended for attitude and walking out of class 5 times this month arrested for the 1st time 2 weeks ago burglery and tresspassing broke into a school and just "walked around" suspended now 2nd time in 2weeks.... was on lexapro sent him into mania phase, hasnt calmed down yet was taken off of it last week was only on it 2 weeks, school keeps sending him home because they cant deal with him and now say him walking out of class and down the hall is a safty issue iep is present but they dont follow it very well, threats to expell and i cant afford to keep missing time from work either, he goes to therapy and sees his dr weekly and has a at home councilor 4 times aweek and also in a young marine program..... i dont know what else to do, i am so tired and feel so drained and i feel noone is helping my son or listening to me please any advise would help.... thanks :


you wrote a really good letter!

I'm also very glad you found a place for your difficult child to go.

Keep us posted please