School suspensions

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The rules on suspensions and expulsions are different depending on whether you go to a public government school or a private school. This page only applies if you go to a public school in Queensland. If you attend a private, independent or Catholic school please contact us here with your question.  

Every Australian child has a right to education .  This means your school cannot suspend or expel you without very good reasons and a clear process.  It also means your school must act fairly if they are planning on suspending or expelling you from school.  If you think you are being unfairly punished, you may be able to appeal the decision.

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What is suspension?

Suspension is when the school asks you to leave school for a short time (between 1 and 10 days) or a longer time (11 to 20 days).

What can you be suspended for?

Your school rules (also called a Responsible Behaviour Plan) explains what behaviour your school expects and what you can be suspended for.  However, there are also general rules that apply in all public schools in Queensland:

You can be suspended from your school by your Principal if:

  • You do not obey your teachers;
  • You misbehave;
  • Your behaviour is bad for the good order and running of the school;
  • Your attendance at school poses an unacceptable risk to the safety or wellbeing of other students of the school;
  • You have been charged with a crime.   If you have been suspended because of you have been charged with a crime, please contact us here as soon as possible because this situation is quite complicated.  

When deciding whether to suspend you, the Principal also has to consider your individual circumstances.  You can be suspended for stuff that happens outside of school hours, or not on school premises.

What process does the school have to follow to suspend you?

Before the suspension begins, the principal must:

  • Explain to your and your parents why they believe you should be suspended
  • Give you and your parents the opportunity to discuss the allegations and respond if you want to.
  • Notify you and your parents verbally of the suspension and the date it will begin

After your suspension starts

Shortly after the suspension starts, the Principal should give you a written notice outlining how long your suspension is for, and why you are suspended.  If the suspension is for more than 10 days, the notice has to give you information about how to appeal it.

While you are suspended

While you are suspended, the school has to make sure (within reason) that you can continue to learn. This may include giving you stuff to work on from home.  The school also has to tell you who you can talk to at the school while you are suspended.

What if you want to appeal the suspension?

You can’t appeal a suspension if it is for less than 10 days. If you think your school acted unfairly and didn’t follow the rules or correct process, you can make a complaint to the Department of Education
For more information on how to do this, see: 

If you’ve been suspended for more than 10 days, you can appeal the decision.   If you want to appeal, you should do this as soon as possible after you are told about your suspension.  You should send a written letter to the Director-General. You can find their details on the notice that your principal gave you when you were suspended.   In the letter to the Director-General, you can explain why you think the decision was unfair and the facts you are relying on to prove your argument.  For an example letter you can use, see page 2 of this document:

The Director-General will consider your application as soon as practicable and let you, your parents and the principal what the outcome is. They also need to give a written notice of what their decision is.

What if you think you have been discriminated against?

Click here for more information about discrimination at school.

What will a suspension mean for your future?

Your suspension or exclusion will be recorded. However, information about your suspension or expulsion is not public information. You and your parents will have access to your records.

When applying for a job, your report card will not show whether you have been suspended or excluded but it will show how many days you didn’t go to school (including absences because of suspensions or exclusions).

For more information

If you have been suspended or expelled from school you should get independent advice about your rights as soon as possible. You need to act quickly to ensure that you minimise as much as possible any disruption or break in your education.

People you can talk to:

  1. You can get help here;
  2. Talk to a Lawyer in person at:
Youth Advocacy Centre in Wilson:
Ph: (07) 3356 1002
Email: [email protected]
Logan Youth Legal Service in Logan}
Phone: (07) 3826 1500

Finally, if you are finding that being out of school is very difficult and stressful and you are feeling a bit down you can call Kids Helpline or check them out here:

The Helpline is free and you don’t have to tell them who you are. You can also call them for free on 1800 55 1800.

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