Suspensions

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 Western Australia. 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 can appeal the decision.

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What is suspension?

Suspension is when the school asks you to leave school for a short time.  

What can I be suspended for?

You can be suspended for a:

– Breach of school discipline: this is any behaviour which badly affects the good order and running of the school;
Serious breach of school discipline: this is behaviour which the school’s Code of Conduct defines as serious or behaviour which affects or threatens the safety of a person at the school.

How long can I be suspended for ?

  • You can be suspended by the Principal for a maximum of 5 days for a breach of school discipline; or
  • You can be suspended by the Principal for a maximum of 10 days for a serious breach of school discipline; or
  • You can be suspended for a maximum of 10 days if your behaviour is so serious that the Principal decides to make a recommendation to the Chief Executive Officer(CEO) that you be excluded from school;or
  • You can be suspended for as long as is authorised by the CEO if the Principal has recommended that you be excluded from school and the CEO is still making a decision. In this case you and your parents must be given a reasonable opportunity to show that the suspension should not continue.

You can only be suspended until the end of the current term, unless the Principal has recommended that you be excluded from school and the CEO is still making a decision.

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

Before the Principal can suspend you from school the Principal must tell you and your parents how long you are to be suspended and the reasons why you are being suspended. If you are being suspended for a serious breach of school discipline, the Principal must tell you this in writing.

In all cases you must be given a reasonable opportunity to put your side of the story and to give your reasons why you should not be  suspended.

What must happen during my suspension?

If your school needs to talk to your parents and plan for your return to school this must happen during your suspension. If it is considered necessary, a behaviour management plan must be set up for you before you go back to school.

What if I disagree with the suspension?

  • If you have been suspended for a total of 10 or more days in a year your school must talk with your parents about your behaviour.
  • If you have been suspended for 20 days or more in a school year the school must arrange for the local District Education Office to become  involved to help deal with your behaviour.
  • If you are suspended from school for 3 or more consecutive days or for a total of 5 or more school days in a school year you must be given school work to do while you are suspended.

If you object to the decision to suspend you, your parents can ask for a review of the decision by  the Manager, Operations at your local District Education Office. A review of the decision will not stop the suspension from happening or continuing while the review is taking place. The request for a review must be managed in accordance with the Department of Education’s Disputes and Complaints Policy.  

What if you think you have been discriminated against?

Click here for more information about discrimination at school.

What will a suspension mean for my future?

Records will be kept about your suspension or exclusion. However, only certain people who work for the Department of Education have access to information about your suspension or expulsion – it is not public information.

Where can I get more help and information?

If you have a question about suspension or expulsion, you can get help here.

You can also contact Youth Legal Service in Perth.  You must make an appointment before going to see them. You can find their details here: http://youthlegalserviceinc.com.au/contact/.

You can read the Department of Education’s policy on expulsions here: http://www.det.wa.edu.au/policies/detcms/cms-service/download/asset/?asset_id=14155956 and suspensions here http://www.det.wa.edu.au/policies/detcms/cms-service/download/asset/?asset_id=13876231

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:  http://kidshelpline.com.au/teens/

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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