St Benildus College Procedure for Suspension Policy:
In St. Benildus College all students have the right to learn in an orderly and caring environment. All students, teachers and other members of the College community have the right to be treated fairly and with dignity in an environment free from disruption, intimidation, harassment and discrimination.
In certain cases of unacceptable behaviour it may be in the best interests of the school community and the student involved that the student is removed from classes or the school for a period of time. The Principal has the authority, under the Articles of Management for Secondary Schools to suspend any pupil for a limited period.
Suspension should be a proportionate response to the behaviour that has caused concern.
The decision to suspend a student requires serious grounds such as that:
The student’s behaviour has had a seriously detrimental effect on the education of other students. The student’s continued presence in the school at this time constitutes a threat to safety. The student is responsible for serious misconduct or serious damage to property.
A single incident of serious misconduct may be grounds for suspension.
The purpose of Suspension is:
To make clear to the student that his behaviour is seriously unacceptable.
To allow him to reflect, in consultation with parents / guardians, on his response to the situation.
To help the student realise that even more serious consequences may ensue if his behaviour is not modified.
When a decision to suspend is reached parents will be notified by phone and written confirmation will follow. The letter will indicate the reason for suspension, the commencement date and the length of suspension. Parents will be informed of their right to appeal the suspension to the school authorities or to the Department of Education and Skills under Section 29 of the Education Act 1998 (if the total number of days for which a student has been suspended in the current school year reaches twenty days).
The College is obliged to inform the National Education Welfare Board if the suspension is longer than six days or if the student has been suspended for a cumulative total of more than twenty days during a school year.
The Appeals process will at all times follow the principles of natural justice. Parents and the student will be made aware of the details relating to the behaviour which resulted in the decision to suspend. An internal appeal may be made to the Principal who may recommend that a sub committee of the board of Management be appointed to facilitate an early decision. The decision of the Board will be communicated in writing to the appellants.If dissatisfied the appellants have the right to appeal to the Department of Education and Skills under Section 29 of the Education Act 1998.
The grounds for removal of a suspension may include: Successful appeal to the Principal or Board of Management. Successful appeal under Section 29 of the Education Act 1998. New circumstances come to light. An alternative strategy being agreed in consultation with parents / guardians.
Procedures for return to College:
The College may request agreed conditions for the formal reintroduction of the student into the College. e.g. Attendance at counselling. Undertakings of good behaviour. Other pastoral supports. On Report for a defined period of time. All students returning from suspension will be required to attend at least one appointment at the Guidance / Counselling office.
This policy was ratified by St Benildus College Board of Management of Tuesday 8 November 2011.