Problems With School?
principal must consider mitigating circumstances before deciding to
suspend or recommend expulsion
The following information applies to the public
school system in Ontario only. Rules governing private schools are set
by the individual school except for school attendance requirements which
apply to all students. For more detailed information about any of the
issues described below, read our education law pamphlets
(right to attend, suspensions, expulsions and special education).
When can I leave school?
Unless you have a legal excuse not to attend school, you must stay
in school (or an equivalent learning program approved by the Ministry of
Education) until your 18th birthday.
What happens if I donít go to school when I am supposed to?
The principal may suspend you from school.
If you skip school regularly, you can be charged with truancy, and if
you are found guilty, you can be fined or given probation. One term of
probation usually says you must go to school. If you break probation by
skipping school again, you can be sent to jail. If you are charged, you
should speak to a lawyer.
Your parent or an adult you live with can be charged if they donít try
to make you go to school.
How can I enrol in school?
You have the right to attend a school in the district where you live
with your parents. You may not be able to attend the school of your
choice if the school board has offered you a spot in another school in
If you are in secondary school and the nearest school to you is in
another school district that has room for you, you can attend that
if I do not live with my parents?
If you still live in the same school district as your parents, you
can attend a school in that district. If you are a tenant, you are
entitled to attend school in the district where you pay rent regardless
of where your parents live. If you live with another adult who has legal
custody of you, you are entitled to attend school in the district where
you live with that person. If none of these apply to you and you are
having trouble getting into school, you should talk to a lawyer.
What if the school refuses to admit me because of my immigration status?
It is illegal for the school board to refuse to admit any child
under 18 years of age into school because the child or the childís
parent or guardian is in Canada without immigration status. If this is
happening to you, you should speak to a lawyer. Your local legal clinic
may be able to assist you.
What are my rights if I have been suspended from school?
You or your
parents must be told promptly that you have been suspended, the length
of the suspension, the reason, and how to appeal. If the principal is
only suspending you and not considering an expulsion then you can appeal
the suspension. You must give notice that you want to appeal within 10
days of the start of the suspension. Unless you agree otherwise the
appeal must be heard within 15 days of the board receiving your notice
of appeal. You will still have to serve the suspension until the appeal
is heard. If you win your appeal, you can ask the school board to remove
or change the record of the suspension in your file and you can
immediately return to school
The principal can only suspend you for up to twenty days. You can also
be suspended from attending one or more classes, or from attending one
or more school-related activities. If you are suspended for 5 or more
days, a suspended students program must be made available to you. If
the principal is considering expelling you then you may be suspended
pending an expulsion for up to 20 days, you cannot appeal the suspension
during this period.
more detailed information read our
pamphlet on suspensions.
I have been told that I am being kicked out of school, what are my
The principal can exclude you from a school if he or she believes
that you have a serious contagious disease, or that your presence at the
school would be detrimental to the other students. You can appeal this
decision to the school board. If you are excluded by a principal from a
school, you can still attend another school within the board.
or getting an expulsion means that you wonít be allowed to go to your
school. A principal cannot expel you but can recommend that the school
board expel you at an expulsion hearing. You must receive notice of the
date of the hearing and information about the hearing. The expulsion
hearing must be held within 20 days of the beginning of your suspension,
unless you agree to have it heard later. At the hearing the school
board trustees (at least three) decide if you should be expelled or not
and the type of expulsion. There are two types of expulsions: one from
your school only, in which case you will be assigned to another school;
the other expulsion is from all schools in your school board and you
will be assigned to a program for expelled students. When you have
successfully completed the program you can return to a school.
All expulsions can
be appealed to the Child and Family Services Review Board.
expelled from school is very serious and can make it difficult for you
to succeed in school or even graduate with your peers. If you might be expelled, you
should take it very seriously and find out what your rights are. For
more detailed information read our
pamphlet on expulsions.
IF YOU WANT MORE INFORMATION ABOUT SCHOOL RELATED ISSUES, CHECK OUT OUR
PAMPHLETS ON THIS WEBSITE OR CALL US.