Can I be expelled from school?

2. Assess the principal’s recommendation

Answering these questions for yourself may help you to decide if you want to challenge the principal's recommendation:

  • Did the principal consider all the factors?
  • Did the principal use progressive discipline?
  • How will the expulsion affect your future?

The factors

Even if the principal thinks you should be expelled, they must first consider:

  • your age
  • your history of good or bad behaviour
  • whether you were being harassed or bullied
  • how an expulsion would affect your education
  • whether you being at school puts anyone at risk

The principal must also consider any physical or mental circumstances that affected your behaviour, such as:

  • whether you can control your behaviour
  • whether you can understand how your behaviour affects others
  • whether the school has tried to accommodate any special needs you have
  • whether an expulsion will make your behaviour better or worse

The principal cannot discriminate against you based on who you are, for example, your race, gender, or disability. If you have experienced discrimination, you can tell the trustees at the hearing. You can also complain to the Human Rights Tribunal.

Progressive discipline

All schools in Ontario must use “progressive discipline”. Progressive discipline means that if a student keeps repeating inappropriate behaviour, then the level of discipline should gradually increase. For example, if a student gets a detention for bullying but they continue bullying, then the principal may consider suspending the student. The goal of progressive discipline is to help a student improve their behaviour, keeping in mind that each student and situation is different. The principal should try other discipline methods before recommending an expulsion.

For example, the principal can give you a warning, a detention, or even a suspension. But if your principal recommends expelling you right away before trying those less serious discipline methods first, then they did not use progressive discipline. You can tell the trustees this during your hearing.

Your student record

Expulsions are recorded in your Ontario Student Record (OSR). Teachers and school administrators who see an expulsion in your OSR may treat you differently.

Universities and colleges do not usually see your discipline records. Usually, they only see your academic transcript. But it is possible that they could ask for your discipline records.

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