Infractions that may lead to expulsion are outlined in CPS’ Uniform Discipline Code. Every student receives a copy at the start of the school year, according to Andrea Horton of the CPS law department. When a student commits one of those infractions, here is how the process works:

1. The school’s dean of students or assistant principal interviews the student, contacts his or her parents and gives them an opportunity to respond to the charges.

2. The case is forwarded to the appropriate area office, where a management support director reviews it and makes an initial determination on whether expulsion is warranted.

3. If expulsion is recommended, the case is forwarded to the CPS law department, usually within three weeks of the alleged infraction.

4. A hearing is scheduled within two to four weeks.

5. At the hearing, CPS attorneys acts as prosecutors and hearing officers. Students may bring in an attorney of their own.

6. The hearing officer reviews notes and an audiotape and makes a recommendation to Chief Education Officer Barbara Eason-Watkins, who has the final word on whether the student should be found innocent, expelled or referred to the eight-week Saturday Morning Alternative Reach Out and Teach (SMART) program. With rare exceptions, only first-time nonviolent offenders are eligible for SMART.

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