This document is drafted in accordance with the National Educational Welfare Board’s guidelines for developing a Code of Behaviour. Should you wish to see those guidelines in detail, they are available at www.newb.ie.
The Board of Management has the authority to expel a student. As a matter of best practice, that authority should be reserved to the Board of Management and should not be delegated.
The ground for expulsion
Expulsion should be a proportionate response to the student’s behaviour. Expulsion of a student is a very serious step, and one that should only be taken by the Board of Management in exteme cases of unacceptable behaviour. The school will have taken significant steps to address the misbehaviour and to avoid expulsion of a student.
A proposal to expel a student requires serious grounds such as that:
- the student’s behaviour is a persistent cause of significant disruption to the learning of others or to the teaching process
- the student’s continued presence in the school constitutes a real and significant threat to safety
- the student is reponsible for serious damage to property.
The grounds for expulsion may be similar to the grounds for suspension. In addition to factors such as the degree of seriousness and the persistence of the behaviour, a key difference is that, where expulsion is considered, the school authorities have tried a series of other interventions, and believe they have exhausted all possibilities for changing the student’s behaviour.
The Board of Management may automatically suspend a student for certain offences. However, this decision does not remove the duty to follow due process and fair procedures.
Expulsion for a first offence
The kinds of behaviour that might result in a proposal to expel on the basis of a single breach of the school code could include:
- a serious threat of violence against another student or member of staff
- actual violence or physical assault
- supplying illegal drugs to other students in the school
- sexual assault.
Procedures for expulsion
The following procedure will be followed in the case of an expulsion.
Step 1 A detailed investigation will be carried out under the direction of the Principal
In investigating an allegation, in line with fair procedure, the principal will:
- inform the student and their parents about the details of the alleged misbehaviour, how it will be investigated and that it could result in expulsion.
- give parents and the student every opportunity to respond to the complaint of serious misbehaviour before a decision is made and before a sanction is imposed.
Parents will be informed in writing of the alleged misbehaviour and the proposed investigation in order to have a permanent record of having let them know. Parents and the student must have every opportunity to respond to the complaint of serious misbehaviour before a decision is made about the veracity of the allegation, and before a sanction is imposed. Where expulsion may result from an investigation, a meeting with the students and their parents is essential.
If a student and his or her parents fail to attend a meeting, the Principal will write advising of the gravity of the , the importance of attending a re-
Step 2 A recommendation to the Board of Management by the Principal
Where the Principal forms a view, based on the investigation of the alleged misbehaviour, that expulsion may be warranted, the Principal will make a recommendation to the Board of Management to consider expulsion. The Principal will:
- inform the parents and the student that the Board of Management is being asked to consider expulsion.
- ensure that parents have records of the allegations against the student, the investigation, and written notice of the grounds on which the Board of Management is being asked to consider expulsion.
- provide the Board of Management with the same comprehensive records as are given to parents.
- notify the parents of the date of the hearing by the Board of Management and invite them to that hearing.
- advise the parents that they can make a written and oral submission to the Board of Management.
- ensure that parents have enough notice to allow them to prepare for the hearing.
Step 3 Consideration by the Board of Management of the Principal’s recommendation; and the holding of the hearing
It is the responsibility of the Board to review the initial investigation and satisfy itself that the investigation was properly conducted in line with fair procedures. The Board should undertake its own review of all documentation and the cirumstances of the case. It should ensure that no party who has any involvement with the circumstances of the case is part of the Board’s deliberation (for example, a member of the Board who may have made an allegation about the student).
Where the Board of Management decides to consider expelling a student, it must hold a hearing. The Board meeting for the purpose of the hearing should be properly conducted in accordance with Board procedures. At the hearing, the Principal and the parents, or a student aged eighteen or over, put their case to the Board in each other’s presence. Each party should be allowed to question the evidence of the other party directly. The meeting may also be an opportunity for parents to make their case for lessening the sanction. In the conduct of the hearing, the Board must take care to ensure that they are, and are seen to be, impartial as between the Principal and the student. Parents may wish to be accompanied at hearings and the Board should facilitate this, in line with good practice and Board procedures.
After both sides have been heard, the Board should ensure that the Principal and parents are not present for the Board’s deliberations.
Step 4 Board of Management deliberations and actions folowin the hearing
Having heard from all the parties, it is the responsibility of the Board to decide whether or not the allegation is sustained and, if so, whether or not expulsion is the appropriate sanction.
Where the Board of Management, having considered all the facts of the case, is of the opinion that the student should be expelled, the Board must notify the Education Welfare Officer in writing of its opinion, and the reason for this opinion. (Education (Welfare) Act 2000, Section 24 (1) the Board of Management should refer to the National Welfare Board reporting procedures for proposed expulsions. The student cannot be expelled before the passage of twenty school days from the date on which the EWO receives this notification (Educatoin (Welfare) Act 2000, Section 24 (1)).
An appeal against an expulsion under Section 29 of the Education Act 1998 will automaticallly succeed if it is shown that the Educatoinal Welfare Officer was not notified in accordance with Section 24 (1) or that twenty days did not elapse from the time of notification to the Eduational Welfare Officer to the implementtion of expulsion (Education (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2007, S4A).
The Board should inform the parents in writing about its conclusions and the next steps in the process. Where expulsion is proposed, the parents should be told that the Board of Management will now inform the Educational Welfare Officer.
Step 5 Consultations arranged by the Educational Welfare Officer
Within twenty days of receipt of a notification from a Board of Management of its opinion that a student should be expelled, the eduational Welfare Officer must:
- make all reasonable efforts to hold individual consultations with the Principal, the parents and the student and anyone else who may be of assistance.
- convene a meeting of those parties who agree to attend (Educational (Welfare) Act 2000, Section 24).
The purpose of the consultations and the meeting is to ensure that arrangements are made for the student to continue in education. These consultations may result in an agreement about an alternative intervention that would avoid expulsion. However, where the possibility of continuing in the school is not an option, at least in the short term, the consultation should focus on alternative educational possibilities.
In the interests of the educational welfare of the student, those concerned should come together with the Educational Welfare Officer to plan for the student’s future education.
Pending these consultations about the student’s continued education, the Board of Management may take steps to ensure that good order is maintained and that safety of students is secured (Education (Welfare) Act 2000, section 25(5)). The Board may consider it appropriate to suspend a student during this time. Suspension should only be considered where there is a likelihood that the continued presence of the student during this time will seriously disrupt the learning of others, or represent a threat to the safety of other students or staff.
Step 6 Confirmation of the decision to appeal
Where the twenty-
A parent, or a student aged over eighteen years, may appeal a decision to expel to the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Science (Education Act 1998, Section 29). An appeal may also be brought to the National Educational Welfare Board on behalf of a student.
Review of use of expulsion
The Board of Management should review the use of expulsion in the school at regular intervals to ensure that its use is consistent with school policies, that patterns of use are examined to identify factors that may be influencing behaviour in the school and to ensure that expulsion is used properly.