- The purpose of suspending a student from school is to provide the student with time for reflection, to emphasise the seriousness of specific misbehaviours and to give staff time to plan ways of helping the student to change unacceptable behaviour.
(a) The Board of Management has delegated authority to the Principal to suspend a student for a period up to and including three days. If a suspension for longer than three days is being proposed, the matter must be referred to the Board. In such a case, having sought approval from the Chairperson of the Board, the Principal may suspend for up to five days to allow for time to convene a Board meeting. The Board will not normally impose a suspension of more than 10 consecutive school days.
(b)Suspension will normally be imposed for a grave offence, as defined in this policy. Further to this, where in the opinion of the Principal or Acting Principal, detention or warning are inadequate disciplinary responses to serious offences, or in the instance of repeated serious offences, the sanction of suspension may also be imposed. Such incidences may involve:
- A threat to the safety of others and to self
- Undermining the dignity of members of the school community
- Serious disruption of teaching and learning and the orderly atmosphere of the school
- Deliberate damage to property
- Misuse of technology
- Substance abuse
- Persistent breaches of the Code of Behaviour which have not been rectified by the normal school interventions.
(c) Other than in the case of immediate suspension (6.1.e below), before a suspension is imposed, the Principal, mindful of the investigation report from the Deputy Principal and Year Head, will have considered the seriousness and context of the behaviour; the impact of the behaviour on the other members of the school community; the interventions that have already been implemented with the student involved (where relevant) and the likely impact of the suspension on the particular student
I.2. Suspension Procedures
- The alleged incident will be investigated by the Deputy Principal and/or the Year Head to determine the facts of the situation. This will involve an interview with the student(s) in question and any witnesses to the event. Following the report from this investigation, should the Principal decide that it is appropriate to suspend a student, the following procedure will be implemented:
- Before the suspension is imposed, the student and his/her parents will be contacted and the matter will be explained to them. Every effort will be made to request and to facilitate the student/ parent/ guardians to meet with the Principal and/or Acting Principal, Deputy Principal and Year Head at a specified time acceptable to all parties, so as to afford them a full opportunity to comment on the disciplinary action being considered.
- If the student/parents/guardians fail to attend such a meeting and fail to provide a reasonable explanation for not doing so, the matter will be determined in their absence and the suspension carried out. The student and parents/guardians will be informed in writing that the suspension has been imposed, the date from which the suspension takes effect and the period of the suspension.
- In the event of the student/parents/guardian attending such a meeting, if having heard the student/parents/guardians, the Principal considers that it is proper and necessary that suspension be imposed, s/he may suspend on such terms as s/he considers appropriate.
- Confirmation in writing will be given to the student/parents/guardians that suspension has been imposed, the date from which such a decision takes effect and the period of the suspension. Parents/guardians will be fully informed of their right to appeal the decision to suspend to the Board of Management.
- A suspension is understood to mean that the student does not have permission to be present in the building and is under the care of their parents/guardians for the day/s in question. A student coming into the school during suspension will be deemed to have flouted the behaviour code and this is considered a grave offence.
- Without prejudice to the foregoing, where the Principal or Acting Principal has been notified of an alleged grave offence and where immediate suspension is deemed necessary for Health and Safety reasons, the Principal, (as per EWB guidelines p75), following a preliminary investigation and without prior notice to the students/parents/ guardians, may suspend a student with immediate effect for such a period as is deemed appropriate, pending a full investigation of the alleged offence.
- Official notice of such suspension will be confirmed in writing to the student/guardians/parents/ and the period of the suspension indicated. The matter will then proceed as per section G.2.d above.
- Following the imposition of a suspension, the Principal will notify the Board of Management of the suspension. Under Section 21(4) of the Education (Welfare) Act, 2000, where a student is suspended for a period of not less than six days, the Principal will forthwith so inform the Educational Welfare Officer by notice in writing.
- Following a period of suspension, the student, accompanied by his/her parent/guardian, is required to present himself/herself to the Principal or Deputy Principal on returning to the school, before going to any class. At this meeting the Principal/Deputy Principal will review the case, and decide what structures are required to support the student in returning to school and in addressing the behaviour which led to the suspension.
I.3. Appeals of suspension
A suspension imposed by the Principal can be appealed to the Board of Management as follows:
- An appeal should be submitted in writing to the Secretary of the Board of Management within 5 school days of the imposition of the suspension and should set out the parent’s case against the suspension.
- At its next meeting, the Board will nominate two members, neither of whom should have any involvement in the case, to investigate the issue and report back to the Board with its findings and recommendations. (A recording secretary for the sub-committee may be included).
- If this investigation recommends that the Board remove the suspension, the record of the suspension will be removed from the student’s file. If the investigation approves the suspension then the suspension will stand.
- There is no further right to appeal unless the student’s cumulative suspensions in any one year exceed 20 days, in which case there is a right to appeal to the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Skills. The Principal must inform the parents and the NEWB if this 20 day limit has been reached.
The Board will monitor the frequency of the use of suspension as a disciplinary measure and will regularly review the procedures to ensure that it is being used fairly and appropriately and in the best interests of the entire school community
(a) Only the Board of Management has the authority to expel a student. This authority may not be delegated.
(b) Where there is significant and continuing disruption to the learning of others or to the teaching process.
(c) Where there is a serious threat to the health and safety of the student him/herself, other students or members of staff.
(d) Where the student is uncontrollable and is not amenable to any form of school authority.
(e) Where parents refuse to exercise their responsibility for the student in accordance with this Behaviour Code
(f) Where the student’s behaviour is detrimental to sustaining the ethos of the school.
(g) In cases of specific behaviour such as actual violence or physical assault, supplying illegal / mood altering substances, sexual assault and indecent sexual behavior, deliberate serious damage to property, Serious misuse of technology.
(h) Other than in exceptional circumstances (section (j) below), before considering expulsion, the school will have taken significant steps to address the student’s behaviour. These steps may include:
- Meeting with parents and the student to endeavour to find ways of helping the student to change their behaviour.
- Ensuring that the student understands the possible consequences of his behaviour, should it persist.
- Ensuring that other possible options have been given a fair trial to bring about an improvement in behaviour through an Individual Behaviour Plan (IBP).
- Seeking the assistance of support agencies (e.g. National Educational Psychological Service, Health Service Executive, Community Services, the National Behavioural Support Service, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, National Council for Special Education).
(i) However, there may be circumstances where the Board of Management forms the opinion that a student should be expelled for a first offence where the issue is grave and/or of such a serious nature as to warrant that sanction. Due process and fair procedures will be followed in all cases and the principles of natural justice will apply.
J.1. Procedure for expulsion
- The Principal will ensure that there is a thorough investigation of the incident. The student may be suspended from school while this investigation is taking place, if this is deemed necessary, in accordance with section 6 above.
- The Principal will inform the student and the parents, in writing, of the details of the alleged misbehaviour and the possibility that it could result in expulsion.
- The student and parents will be given every opportunity to respond to the complaint before a final decision is made. If the final decision is that the Principal intends to recommend expulsion to the Board of Management then the parents will be invited to a meeting with the Principal before the recommendation proceeds to the Board.
- The Principal will provide the parents and the Board of Management with records of the allegations, the investigation and also the grounds on which the Board is being asked to consider expulsion.
- The parents will be notified of the date of the Board of Management hearing and will be invited to attend. They will be given adequate notice of the meeting and will be informed that they may make a written and oral submission to the Board. The written submission may be made in advance.
J.2. The Board of Management Hearing
- The Board will ensure impartiality and no Board member who has had any involvement in the circumstances of the case will take part in the hearing.
- At the hearing, the Principal and the parents, or a student who is eighteen years or over, will put their case to the Board in each other’s presence.
- Parents may wish to be accompanied at such hearings and the Board will facilitate this. There is no right to legal representation in this process.
- Neither Principal nor parents will be present when the Board is making its decision.
J.3. Following the Board Decision
(a) Where the student and his parents/guardians attend the meeting with the B.O.M., and the Board, having heard the student and/or his parent/guardian, form the view that it is necessary and proper to impose the sanction of expulsion, the Board, before making the decision to expel the student, will notify, in writing, the Educational Welfare Officer of its opinion and the reasons therefore, in accordance with Section 24(1) of the Education (Welfare) Act, 2000.
(b) Where the student/parents/guardians do not attend the meeting: If the student and/or his parent/guardian fail to attend the meeting with the B.O.M. and fail to provide a reasonable explanation for not doing so, the B.O.M. will determine the matter in their absence. Before making a decision to expel the student, the Board will notify, in writing, the Educational Welfare Officer of its opinion and the reasons therefore, in accordance with Section 24(1) of the Education (Welfare) Act, 2000. 7.7.2 Where it is decided to impose the sanction of expulsion, the student and his/her parent/guardian will be informed by letter by the Board that the sanction of expulsion has been imposed and the date from which decision will take effect. The student will not be expelled from the school before the passing of 20 school days following the receipt by the Education Welfare Officer of the notification. In the interim, the Board may, in accordance with section 5 of the Education (Welfare) Act 2000, suspend or make other arrangements to ensure that ‘good order and discipline are maintained in the school’.
(c) Involvement of the Education Welfare Officer
(i) Within this twenty-day period, the Education Welfare Officer will convene meetings with relevant parties to ensure that arrangements are made for the student to continue in education.
(ii) While these negotiations are taking place, and before the expulsion is finalised, the Board may consider it necessary to continue the student’s suspension from school. This task may be delegated to the Principal or Chairperson.
(iii) After the twenty days has elapsed, where the Board remains of the view that the student should be expelled, the decision will be formally confirmed to the parents and the student in a registered letter signed by the Chairperson and the Principal.
(iv) The parents will be told about the right to appeal and the associated timeframe. They will be supplied with the appropriate form.
K. Review & Evaluation
The code will be reviewed on a yearly basis.
Signed by Chairperson of the Board of Management.
Signed by Principal
Date: Updated June 2023.