Policy on Suspension & Expulsion

As required under Section 15, Education Act 1998 & Section 23, Education Welfare Act 2000

A. Suspensions (to be further reviewed)

  1. The Code of Conduct of Meánscoil Iognáid Rís outlines the standards of behaviour expected of our students and the rules and sanctions of the school. The school community recognises the excellent behaviour, work and cooperation of so many of its pupils at all times.
  2. Under the Articles of Management for Secondary Schools, the principal has authority to suspend “any pupil for a limited period and shall report any such suspension to the Board of Management as its next meeting”. This is the practice in Meánscoil Iognáid Rís – the principal may suspend a pupil for a limited period and reports all suspensions at the next ordinary meeting of the Board of Management.
  3. Under the Articles of Management it is the principal alone who has the right and responsibility to suspend a pupil. However, when the principal is away, the Deputy Principal acts as principal and has the right to suspend a pupil in such circumstances.
  4. In all cases in this policy, the word “parents” shall have the meaning “parents or guardians”.
  5. A pupil may be suspended for:
    • serious or continued misbehaviour inside or outside class
    • serious or continued misbehaviour on the way to school or from school or at break time
    • refusal to accept the authority of a teacher, principal or deputy principal
    • non-compliance with the rules as set out in the Code of Conduct
    • persistent disruption of class
    • aggressive or threatening behaviour
    • foul language to or disrespect for a member of staff
    • bullying – as outlined in the school’s anti-bullying policy
    • persistent refusal to do school work in class or at home
    • damage to property
    • stealing
    • striking another pupil or fighting either on the school premises, going to or from school or at breaktime
    • misbehaviour or bringing the school’s name into disrepute while on a school trip or school-related activity
    • shoplifting on the way to or from school or at break time
    • refusal to pay a fine or to attend detention
    • persistent mitching
    • breach of rules regarding the abuse of alcohol or illegal substances
    • smoking on the school premises
    • persistent failure to bring in notes explaining absence from school
    • persistent failure to wear the school uniform
    • for pupils “on report”, continued failure to have the Report Copy filled in.
  6. Before a decision on suspension is taken, the Year Head or Deputy Principal will investigate the complaint(s) and will decide whether or not the matter should be referred to the principal for a decision on suspension. The principal may also take a decision to suspend on foot of a serious complaint received directly from a member of staff, another pupil or from any other person.
  7. Before a decision is taken to suspend a student, the principal or Deputy Principal will meet with the student involved, inform him of the complaints made against him and allow him a right of reply.
  8. Where the principal is of the view that a suspension is warranted, the parents of the student will be informed of his intention to suspend the student. The Notice of Intention will include the following:
    • The effective date of the proposed suspension
    • The duration of the proposed suspension
    • The reasons for the proposed suspension
    • A statement that the Education Welfare Board will be informed – this will apply in the case of a suspension of more than 6 days or where the student has been suspended for more than 20 days during the school year to date.
    • An invitation to the parents to come to the school for a meeting with the principal before the suspension takes place.
  9. If the parents take up the invitation to a meeting, the principal will not make a final decision regarding the suspension until after the meeting. Otherwise, the suspension will proceed as outlined in the Notice.
  10. In very exceptional circumstances and/or in the interests of health and safety, the principal will have the right to suspend a student pending an investigation. In this case, the parents will be notified by telephone of the situation and afforded a right to a meeting at the earliest opportunity. Following the investigation and the meeting with the parents, a final decision will be made on the matter and the parents informed in writing of the duration of the suspension and the reasons for it.
  11. All suspensions may be appealed to the Board of Management. The principal will have the right to insist that the student remains at home while the appeal is in progress. In the case of a successful appeal and the suspension has already been served, the suspension will be removed from the student’s record in the school.
  12. A suspension may be removed where:
    • The principal having met with the student’s parents deems that the circumstances are such that the suspension should be lessened or removed
    • New information or circumstances are brought to the principal’s notice
    • The Board of Management removes the suspension following an appeal

B. Expulsions (to be further reviewed)

  1. Article 19 (c) of the Articles of Management states that “if, in the judgement of the principal, a pupil should be expelled, the principal shall refer the matter to the Board of Management for decision”
  2. Expulsion is the ultimate sanction imposed by the school and is exercised by the Board of Management in cases of very serious or persistent indiscipline, breach of rules or misbehaviour.
  3. When in the judgement of the principal, a pupil should be expelled, the following procedures will be followed:
    • The parents will be informed of the decision of the principal by registered letter.
    • The parents will be given at least five days notice of the meeting of the Board of Management.
    • The parents will be invited to make a written and oral presentation at the meeting of the Board of Management.
    • In advance of the meeting, the principal will prepare a Report for members of the Board. The Report will contain all relevant material relating to the case including the previous record of the pupil and details of the incident leading to the decision to refer the case to the Board. It will also include copies of previous correspondence with the parents (if any) and where relevant, the efforts made by the school to assist the pupil in the past and the various warnings given to the pupil.
    • A copy of the Report will be sent out by post to the parents of the pupil in advance of the meeting.
    • Two people may attend the meeting of the Board of Management on behalf of the pupil. Normally this will be the parents, but where one parent only wishes to attend the meeting, this parent may be accompanied by another person.
    • In the case of a pupil over the age of 18, that pupil may be present at the meeting of the Board. Pupils under the age of 18 shall not attend the meeting.
  4. The meeting of the Board of Management will be conducted as follows:
    • The Board will examine the Report and seek clarifications (if any) from the principal.
    • The parents will be invited to attend the meeting at a particular time. The chairperson will request the principal to outline the case against the pupil.
    • The Chairperson will give the parents sufficient time to respond, to query aspects of the Report and to make representations on behalf of the pupil.
    • When the parents leave the meeting, the principal will do so also while the Board discusses the matter and makes its decision.
  5. Following the meeting the decision of the Board of Management will be communicated to the parents as soon as practicable following the Board meeting.
  6. If the decision of the Board is to expel, the parents will be informed of:
    • the effective date of the expulsion – 20 school days following the decision being communicated to the parents (under Section 24 of the Education Welfare Act)
    • the reasons for the expulsion
    • the Appeals procedure under Section 29 of the Education Act.
  7. The parents will also be informed:
    • that the National Education Welfare Board has been informed and that an Education Welfare Officer will be in contact with the family regarding the pupil’s future education;
    • whether the Board has decided to allow the student continue to attend school for the period of the 20 school days or whether the student will be suspended for that period and remain under the care and responsibility of his parents.
  8. When the 20 day period following notification to the Educational Welfare Officer has elapsed, and where the Board of Management remains of the view that the student should be expelled, the Principal and Chairperson of the Board, on behalf of the Board of Management, will formally confirm the decision to expel.