California Public Schools Now Expressly Prohibited From Denying Enrollment To Students Who Have Had Contact With The Juvenile Justice System

October 2012
Number 57

On September 20, 2012, Governor Brown signed into law Senate Bill (SB) 1088, which amends Education Code section 48645.5 to expressly prohibit public schools from denying enrollment or readmission to a pupil solely on the basis that he or she has had contact with the juvenile justice system.

Currently, Education Code section 48645.5 requires each school district and county office of education to accept for credit full or partial coursework satisfactorily completed by a pupil while attending a public school, juvenile court school, or nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency. If a pupil completes the graduation requirements of his or her school district of residence while being detained in a juvenile facility, the school district of residence is required to issue to the pupil a diploma from the school the pupil last attended before detention or, in the alternative, the county superintendent of schools is authorized to issue the diploma.

Under existing law, school districts do not have the authority to deny enrollment or readmission to a pupil because he or she has had contact with the juvenile justice system. Even so, the Legislature found that such pupils frequently encounter school policies that make it difficult, if not impossible, for them to return to a traditional public school after contact with the juvenile justice system. SB 1088 amends existing law to expressly prohibit public schools from denying a student enrollment or readmission on the basis that the student has had contact with the juvenile justice system, including, but not limited to:

    • Arrest
    • Adjudication by a juvenile court;
    • Formal or informal supervision by a probation officer; or
    • Detention for any length of time in a juvenile facility or enrollment in a juvenile court school

Thus, the changes imposed by SB 1088 are intended to address what the legislature perceived as the widespread use of alternative school placements for students returning to the public school system after contact with the juvenile justice system—placements with lesser academic offerings compared to comprehensive traditional school sites and programs—as well as the long term consequences of students dropping out of school when frustrated over such alternative placements.

If you have any questions about SB 1088, or about other issues related to pupil readmission requirements, please feel free to contact one of our eight offices located statewide. You can also visit our website or download our Client News Brief App.


Written By

Sloan Simmons
Shareholder and Student Practice Group Co-Chair
Sacramento Office

Sara Santoyo
Law Clerk
Fresno Office


©2012 Lozano Smith

As the information contained herein is necessarily general, its application to a particular set of facts and circumstances may vary. For this reason, this News Brief does not constitute legal advice. We recommend that you consult with your counsel prior to acting on the information contained herein.


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