When there is a transition at the top of state government, some ongoing initiatives will inevitably be dropped. Sometimes it is intentional, other times they just fall through the cracks.

The work of a 23-member panel charged with looking at school expulsion policies around the state should not fall into either category. The group’s final report will be submitted to the outgoing Legislature’s Education Committee next week, and its recommendations should be acted on by the next Legislature.

Among the things that educators and legal experts on the panel discovered was that although state law identifies certain kinds of misbehavior that demand expulsion, how that discipline is implemented varies widely between districts.

One major difference is that some school districts work with the expelled student from Day One, to give them the tools they need to get back to school.

Other districts leave it up to the students and families to navigate on their own. This is an important issue of equity in which all students should be treated the same regardless of where they live.

While no school should have to put up with a dangerous or disruptive student, the school does not end its obligation to provide an education to students even when they are rightfully disciplined.

The panel’s recommendation gets the right balance of fairness — both to the student and the school community. It is recommending that the law be changed to make clear that when a student is expelled he is presented with a written re-entry plan, and a school employee is designated to monitor the process.

The plans should include tutoring, possibly in school, so the student can keep up academically, but could also call for counseling and some form of restitution related to the offense that led to the expulsion.

Not everyone may complete such a plan successfully. Some may complete the plan, only to offend again when returned to school.

It is important, however, that a student have a clear path back to school, and some help staying on track.

The consequences that come with dropping out of high school are lifelong and it may be beyond the ability of some teenagers to look into the future and see what they are giving up.

These consequences should not be distributed differently in different towns. Schools should all work to get these students back.