School Expulsions Hearing Preparation

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Mitigating Factors


To obtain free legal advice as you prepare for your hearing, you can contact:

Legal Aid Ontario
Toronto Line: 416-979-1446
Toll-free: 1-800-668-8258

The Lawyer Referral Service
Toronto Line: 416-947-3330
Toll-free: 1-800-268-8326

Child Advocacy Program - Pro Bono Law Law Help Ontario

Getting ready for your Child and Family Services Review Board (CFSRB) hearing involves a lot of preparation. Below is a checklist of information and evidence that you can prepare. It's important to prepare the evidence the best you can, as it may lead to the expulsion being overturned or reduced. Having the expulsion reduced means that the student is expelled from the school only and not from the entire school board.

You might answer the following questions and use your answers as you plan your appeal. 

  • Does your child (the student) have a diagnosed learning disability, history of social problems, ADHD, or ODD, etc.?
  • Does your child have an IEP and/or a behavioural plan? If not, has the school offered any resource support for your child?
  • Is the student’s IEP up to date? When was the last time it was reviewed by the IPRC?
  • Was the IEP being followed correctly when the event happened that led to the expulsion?
  • Was a school staff member that the student knew involved at the time when the student did what they are being expelled for?
  • Were there special resource supports and/or accommodations for the student at the time of the event? (Example: time out in the resource room) Were they being used correctly?
  • Is there any evidence you can show that any of the mitigating factors or other factors from the Education Act [shown and explained below] influenced what happened leading to the student’s expulsion?

Showing that there were mitigating factors or other factors that were important in your child’s case can make it more likely that the student will not be expelled or will only be expelled from their school and not the entire school board.

Mitigating Factors: (from the Education Act, O. Reg 472/07 s. 2.)

  1. The pupil does not have the ability to control his or her behaviour.

    Can you have a counsellor or psychologist inform the appeal board that the student cannot control his or her actions?

  2. The pupil does not have the ability to understand the foreseeable consequences of his or her behaviour.

    Can you have a counsellor or psychologist inform the appeal board that your child cannot foresee the results of his or her behaviour, or not understand those results?

  3. The pupil’s continuing presence in the school does not create an unacceptable risk to the safety of any person.

    Can you show, or have a counsellor or psychologist inform the appeal board that your child is not likely to cause an unacceptable risk to the safety of anyone at the school?

  4. Does the student have a history of behaviour issues leading up to the event that he or she was expelled for?

    If your child does not have a history of behaviour issues leading up to the event, or if the behaviour in this situation is not of the same type, the CFSRB may overturn the expulsion.

  5. Has a progressive discipline approach been used with the student? i.e., Has the student been disciplined repeatedly with consistent increases in severity leading up to this expulsion?

    If a progressive discipline approach was not used, the CFSRB may overturn the expulsion.

  6. Leading up to the event that they are expelled for was the student teased/bothered/harassed because of his or her race, culture, religion, disability, gender, sexual orientation, or any other reason?

    If your child experienced any of the above, the CFSRB may find that the expulsion should be overturned.

  7. How old was the student at the time of the expulsion?

    If you can show that your child is at an age or grade level where an expulsion may affect his or her social well-being or self-image, the CFSRB may choose to overturn the expulsion.

  8. Will the student’s ongoing education be damaged if the student is expelled, either from the school or the entire board?

    If your child's ongoing education will be damaged as described above, the CFSRB may find that he or she should not be expelled, or that the expulsion should be from the school and not from the entire school board. 

  9. In the case of a pupil for whom an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) has been developed:
  • Was the behaviour that the student was expelled for caused by a disability that was in the student's IEP?
  • If the disability was not identified in the IEP, was the IEP up to date?
  • Was appropriate individualized accommodation provided?
  • Was the student treated properly, considering his or her IEP?
  • Will being expelled make the student’s behaviour worse?
  • Did the student have a history of progressive discipline leading up to the expulsion?
  • Does the student have a history with a psychologist or other professional at the school or elsewhere who can speak about him or her to the appeal board?

The CFSRB will consider all these issues in the hearing, and information about them may help them reach a fair decision.

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