Students can be suspended, excluded or expelled if they threaten or are violent at school or represent a threat to the safety of students or staff. This includes:
- bullying or racial vilification;
- acting illegally;
- causing serious disruption in class that affects other students;
- not performing school work and not participating in class;
- repeated breaches of school rules.
The decision to suspend, exclude or expel will depend on the severity and frequency of the misbehaviour, past behaviour and a student’s response to previous requests [Education Regulations 2012 (SA) reg 48].
Suspension requires a student to be absent from normal classes and activities for a specified period of time. They will be prohibited from being on school grounds during this time (up to five consecutive school days) [Education Regulations 2012 (SA) reg 44].
The head teacher of a school can exclude a student from attending school for up to 20 weeks in a calendar year. Before excluding the student, a term of suspension must first have been served. A student must obey reasonable written directions in relation to undertaking education, work or other relevant activity during the period of an exclusion and it is an offence to fail to follow these directions. The maximum penalty is $200 [see Education Regulations 2012 (SA) r 45].
A student can be expelled for behaviour for which they have previously been suspended.
There are two types of expulsion:
It is an offence for an expelled, excluded or suspended student to enter the school grounds during the period of their expulsion, exclusion or suspension, except with the written approval of the head teacher of the school. The maximum penalty is $200 [Education Regulations 2012 (SA) r 49].
An expulsion can be appealed by the student, their parents or another adult acting on behalf of the parent or student. The rules about when and how an application for appeal should be made are found in regulation 50 of the Education Regulations 2012 (SA). Note that there are very short time frames in which an appeal must be made.
The Education Department has an information pamphlet explaining procedures for suspension and exclusion in state schools. For independent (i.e. non-government) schools, information on policies for suspension, exclusion and expulsion can be obtained directly from the individual school.
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.