The PFDA is the short name for Minnesota Statutes, section 121A.40 through 121A.56. Please visit the Minnesota Department of Education’s (MDE) Pupil Fair Dismissal Act web page for a copy of the PFDA. Schools must follow certain steps called “due process” to dismiss a student from school. The PFDA provides the due process framework that schools must follow when dismissing a student from school. The PFDA applies to all public schools, including charter schools and state approved alternative education programs.
A dismissal is the denial of a student’s current educational program, which includes suspension, expulsion, or exclusion. Removals of class are not included in this definition.
A suspension is a dismissal from school for more than one and up to ten school days.
An expulsion is a school board action to remove a student from the district or charter school for up to one calendar year.
An exclusion is a school board action to prevent a student from enrolling in the district or charter school or to prevent a student from re-enrolling after an expulsion has ended for up to the end of the current school year.
Alternative educational services are the educational services that a district will provide a student who has been suspended from school more than five consecutive school days, or has been expelled or excluded from school. These services are provided in a different location from the school grounds and may include supervised homework, homebound services, etc. If a student takes advantage of the offered services, the services must be adequate to allow the student to make progress toward meeting state and local graduation standards and help the student prepare for readmission.
If your student has been suspended from school, your student is not permitted to go to or be present at any school or district buildings, grounds, school buses, school functions, activities, or trips except for the purposes of attending an alternative education program as part of the student’s disciplinary action.
If you have any questions about student discipline, including special education questions, contact MDE’s Division of Compliance and Assistance at 651-582-8689
Disclaimer: The law often changes, and each case is different. This document is meant to give you general information and does not provide specific legal advice. Please use the information in this document carefully as this information may not accurately reflect any changes in the law that occurred following the creation or translation of this document.