5.1 What is suspension?
5.1.1 Suspension is the removal of a student from school activities or the school site for a period of time.
5.1.2 A suspension may be issued as an Internal Suspension or an External Suspension, at the discretion of the school Principal.
- An Internal Suspension is where the student is removed from attending regular lessons and school activities, but is present on the school site. Appropriate supervision and work are provided during this period in a space away from other students. It is used in circumstances where the Principal’s determination is that the student can be safely on site, and/or where the home environment would not be an appropriate place for the suspension.
- An External Suspension occurs off the school site for a temporary period of time. It is designed to allow time for the school, parents/carers and the student involved to work towards a resolution of the behaviour and circumstances that have led to the student’s suspension, and to focus on the development of an appropriate response and process for a return to school. During this time the student is not able to attend the school site or participate in school events or activities.
5.1.3 A suspension allows time for the school to plan and implement appropriate supports to mitigate the risks to health, safety, learning and wellbeing, posed by the student’s behaviour, and to plan for the student’s successful re-engagement with learning and into the school community.
5.2 Suspension considerations
5.2.1 Following an assessment of the behaviour and the risk associated with the behaviour, it may be necessary to suspend a student to allow time for further discussion or inquiry. In determining whether to suspend a student, a Principal must comply with the process outlined in the Procedures. Factors to consider in determining where suspension is appropriate may include:
- any physical violence, where a student, member of staff or other person is injured;
- any threatened violence that is risk assessed as being a credible threat to the safety and wellbeing of students, staff and/or others;
- possession of a prohibited weapon;
- use or possession of banned substances; or, where a substance is reasonably suspected of being an illegal substance. (These matters are referred to the school’s Police Youth Liaison Officer (PYLO);
- acute or extreme behaviour, such as bullying or harassment and/or threats made in person or via electronic means;
- where predetermined behavioural goals have not been met and appropriate student management strategies have already been applied through a student support plan;
- the impact on the student and the broader school community;
- whether the provision of supervision at home is appropriate;
- whether all relevant information from students, staff, parents/carers, external agencies, NSW Police and mental health practitioners, if relevant, has been considered;
- behaviours that meet the definition of violence toward self or others under Part 5A of the Education Act NSW; and
- serious breaches of the school rules that present a risk, as outlined in the Procedures.
5.2.2 This includes behaviours that occur offsite when students are in school uniform, or at a school organised event.
5.2.3 If a decision is made for an external suspension, the Principal must consider the school’s duty of care to the student. Parents/ carers are to be notified and asked to make the necessary arrangements for the student to leave the school site. When no contact can be made with the parents/carers, the student will remain on internal suspension until the end of the school day.
5.3 Approval of suspension
5.3.1 A Principal is delegated to suspend a student for a period of up to and including five school days. This includes internal or external suspension.
5.3.2 On some occasions it may not be possible for a student to safely re-enter the school after 5 days suspension, the process to follow if the situation arises is set out in section 6.2.
5.4.1 The school must notify the student’s parents/carers of the suspension. The initial notification may be provided verbally, however this must be followed in a timely manner by a written notification, in accordance with the Procedures.
5.5 Suspension documentation
5.5.1 Documentation concerning suspensions are held at the school. Student behavioural records are treated as confidential and are not released without a valid and lawful basis for doing so, for example, a Chapter 16A request or a Subpoena.