Expulsion is the highest form of punishment a school can issue to a student. After a serious of offense, a student is removed from school for a give period of time, in some cases up to a year. Differing from suspension, if a student gets expelled from school, he can only return if the school board reinstates him. State laws determine the ways that a student can be expelled from school and the process that the school board must go through to expel a student.

Basics

If a school expels a student, she cannot participate in school activities or functions. Harboring weapons, using or selling drugs on school grounds and participating in misconduct are typical reasons for expulsion. However, expulsion policies differ from state to state and school to school. Private schools may have an entirely different procedure than public schools. Schools will have a handbook that outlines their expulsion policy. If a public school expels a student, he has a right to a hearing with the school board. The hearing may take place before or after the expulsion depending on the severity of the offense. For less severe offenses, the student will have the right to some form of alternative education during the time in which she is expelled.

Weapons

Bringing a weapon to school is a very serious offense. State laws typically mandate a one-year expulsion for student caught with weapons on school grounds or at a school function. This includes firearms, knives, explosives or any other deadly weapons. A student will not have the right to an alternative education during his expulsion if he is caught with weapons in school. Even if the weapon does not fit the criteria for mandatory expulsion, the school board can justify expelling a student. Brandishing a knife or threatening someone with a knife is also grounds for expulsion. This includes waving a knife at someone.

Drugs

The use, distribution and possession of controlled substances are an offense that most school boards see as grounds for expulsion. This includes illegal drugs, prescription medication and alcohol. The sale, use and possession of drugs are illegal on school grounds, but also at a school-sponsored function. Tobacco is typically not grounds for expulsion on the first offense. However, students repeatedly caught with tobacco or tobacco products may be expelled from school.

Misconduct

There are many forms of misconduct. Fighting, violence or other dangerous behavior, including bullying, can get a student kicked out of school.“Threatening a teacher, staff member or fellow student with physical harm, or actually using force against them,” is considered misconduct, according to Lawyers.com. Students can be expelled for theft or damaging school property. Sexual assault, attempted sexual assault and sexual battery are all grounds for immediate expulsion.

Zero Tolerance

Some school systems have zero tolerance policies regarding various offenses and misconduct. Participating in or committing any one of these acts will be grounds for immediate expulsion. A school’s handbook should outline its zero tolerance policy.