An initial interview with students by a Principal or teacher should do the following:
clarify the purpose of the interview i.e. counselling or disciplinary.
if there is only a suspicion and there is no hard evidence, it may be preferable to avoid seeking evidence, and instead counsel the student. Professional judgment and knowledge of the student needs to be used here.
if there is hard evidence, the police must be called. In this case, the initial interview becomes disciplinary rather than counselling.
it is important to preserve the integrity of the interview process. If students are to be interviewed, whether because they are under suspicion or because they may have useful information, they should be isolated, under the supervision of a teacher if this appears necessary, until they can be interviewed.
a second person should be present at the interview and should take notes.
it is advisable to adopt a standard approach to interviews, both with students and with parents or guardians. It may be helpful to prepare and use an ‘interview script’ for each set of interviews.
it is important to allow plenty of time for each interview, about 45 minutes is suggested.
after student interviews have taken place, students should be given time to talk to their parents or guardians about what has happened before the parents or guardians are interviewed.
a student will not be sent out of the school before the end of the school day without notification being made to their parents or guardians and, if necessary, agreement reached about arrangements for the collection of the child from school.
even when the police are involved, it may be possible to request that they simply caution the students rather than laying charges. This depends on the seriousness of the offence, and also on the quality of the relationship between the school and the local police.