Discipline

From Term 1 2017, Victorian government and Catholic schools will use the new Victorian Curriculum F-10. Curriculum related information is currently being reviewed and may be subject to change.

For more information on the curriculum, see:
The Victorian Curriculum F–10 - VCAA

Each school has its own discipline policy decided on by the school community.

The discipline policy is called the Student Engagement Policy. It is a document that sets your school's expectations of your attendance and behaviour and the consequences if these expectations are not met.

You can ask your school for a copy of its Student Engagement Policy for more information.

Suspensions and expulsions

Suspensions and expulsion are disciplinary measures reserved for very serious incidents.

Below are some frequently asked questions and key contacts to assist you if you are going through a suspension or expulsion process.

For more information on suspension and expulsion procedures see: Student Engagement and Inclusion Guidance

Frequently Asked Questions - Suspension

I have been suspended and I go to a private school. Do these guidelines apply to me?

No, private schools have their own individual disciplinary procedures. You should ask your school for further information on what their procedures are.

What is a 'relevant person'?

A relevant person is someone who can support and advocate for you throughout the suspension and expulsion process. Unless you are over 18, you must have someone to take on this role. In most cases this will be your parent, guardian or carer.

My parent can't or won't act as my relevant person. What can I do?

If you are a minor (under 18) and your parents are willing and able to nominate an alternate relevant person, then this person can take on the role. This can be another relative, family friend or other trust adult.

If you are considered a mature minor, you can nominate your own alternate relevant person.

If you are under 18 and have no other responsible adult who can take on the role of the relevant person, then your principal will be able to assist you in requesting that someone be appointed to the role.

What if there is nobody available to act as my relevant person?

If you are a minor (under 18) or a mature minor and you do not have a responsible adult who can play the role of the relevant person, then a suitable person can be appointed to take on the role of your relevant person.

Suitable persons are trained to support and advocate for students through a suspension or expulsion process. Your principal will be able to assist you in having a suitable person appointed if necessary.

If you are over 18 years of age, you can legally be your own relevant person, however, you can request a sutiable person to take on this role if desired.

What can I be suspended for?

You can be suspended, If whilst attending school or travelling to or from school or engaged in any school activity away from the school (including travel to or from that activity), you:

  1. behave in such a way as to pose a danger, whether actual, perceived or threatened, to the health, safety or wellbeing of any person
  2. cause significant damage to or destruction of property
  3. commit or attempts to commit or is knowingly involved in the theft of property
  4. possess, uses or sells or deliberately assists another person to possess, use or sell illicit substances or weapons
  5. fail to comply with any clear and reasonable instruction of a staff member so as to pose a danger, whether actual, perceived or threatened, to the health, safety or wellbeing of any person
  6. consistently engage in behaviour that vilifies, defames, degrades or humiliates another person based on age; breastfeeding; gender; identity; impairment; industrial activity; lawful sexual activity; marital status; parental status; physical features; political belief or activity; pregnancy; race; religious belief or activity; sexual orientation; personal association (whether as a relative or otherwise) with a person who is identified by reference to any of the above attributes
  7. consistently behave in an unproductive manner that interferes with the wellbeing, safety or educational opportunities of any other student.
What is an internal suspension? What will I be doing?

An in-school suspension means that you will remain on school grounds under supervision but means you do not attend your normal classes.

This can be arranged in a number of ways including:

  • pairing you up with an experienced teacher or appropriate staff member for the day and accompanying that them to classes
  • participation in a work-based in-school suspension (e.g. working outdoors or preparation of educational materials)
  • setting you up in a dedicated room or area where you can complete your in-school suspension under appropriate supervision

It is important to remember that while this is different from a traditional 'out-of-school' suspension the same process should be followed for both.

What will I do when I'm suspended? Will I have homework?

It is expected that your school will give you school work to go on with for the duration of your suspension.

How long can I be suspended for?

You can be suspended no more than 5 days in a row, and no more than 15 days over the course of a year without approval from the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development.

What if I think my suspension is unfair - can I do anything about this?

If you think that you have been unfairly suspended, there are a number of steps you can take, including:

  • calmly talk to the principal, assistant principal or teacher involved in the decision to suspend you to explain your version of events
  • talk to your parents about setting up a meeting with the school to advocate on your behalf (or with you)
  • work with your parents to write a letter to the school outlining the issues as you see them (sometimes putting things into writing can be very effective)
  • talk to the Community Liaison Officer in your closest regional office for further assistance in addressing any issues (details below)

Frequently Asked Questions - Expulsion

I have been expelled and I go to a private school. Do these guidelines apply to me?

No, private schools have their own individual disciplinary procedures. You should ask your school for further information on what their procedures are, or you can contact Independent Schools Victoria or your local Catholic Education Diocese.

Independent Schools Victoria
Phone: 03 9825 7200 or visit their website: Independent Schools Victoria

Catholic Eudcation Office of Victoria
Phone: 03 9267 02280 or visit their website: Catholic Education Commission of Victoria 

What can I be expelled for?

You can be expelled, If whilst attending school or travelling to or from school or engaged in any school activity away from the school (including travel to or from that activity), you:

  1. behave in such a way as to pose a danger, whether actual, perceived or threatened, to the health, safety or wellbeing of any person
  2. cause significant damage to or destruction of property
  3. commit or attempt to commit or is knowingly involved in the theft of property
  4. possess, use or sell or deliberately assists another person to possess, use or sell illicit substances or weapons
  5. fail to comply with any clear and reasonable instruction of a staff member so as to pose a danger, whether actual, perceived or threatened, to the health, safety or wellbeing of any person
  6. consistently engage in behaviour that vilifies, defames, degrades or humiliates another person based on age; breastfeeding; gender; identity; impairment; industrial activity; lawful sexual activity; marital status; parental status; physical features; political belief or activity; pregnancy; race; religious belief or activity; sexual orientation; personal association (whether as a relative or otherwise) with a person who is identified by reference to any of the above attributes
  7. consistently behave in an unproductive manner that interferes with the wellbeing, safety or educational opportunities of any other student
  8. The student's behaviour is of such magnitude, that having regard to the need of the student to receive an education compared to the need to maintain the health, safety and wellbeing of other students and staff at the school and the need to maintain the effectiveness of the schools' educational programs, expulsion is the only avalialble mechanism.
The processes for suspension and expulsion refer to a 'relevant person' providing support to students. Who or what is a 'relevant person'?

A relevant person is someone who can support and advocate for you throughout the suspension and expulsion process. Unless you are over 18, you must have someone to take on this role.

In most cases this will be your parent, guardian or carer.

My parent can't or won't act as my relevant person. What can I do?

If you are a minor (under 18) and your parents are willing and able to nominate an alternate relevant person, then this person can take on the role. This can be another relative, family friend or other trust adult.

If you are considered a mature minor, you can nominate your own alternate relevant person.

If you are under 18 and have no other responsible adult who can take on the role of the relevant person, then your principal will be able to assist you in requesting that someone be appointed to the role.

I have been asked to attend a behaviour review conference with my relevant person as part of an expulsion process. Does this mean that I have been expelled?

No. A behaviour review conference should be an opportunity for you and your parent/carer to discuss your behaviour and have your version of events and concerns heard by the principal before they make their final decision as to whether you will be expelled.

I have been asked to attend a behaviour review conference with my relevant person as part of an expulsion process. Does this mean that I have been expelled?

No. A behaviour review conference should be an opportunity for you and your parent/carer to discuss your behaviour and have your version of events and concerns heard by the principal before they make their final decision as to whether you will be expelled.

What if my relevant person cannot attend the behaviour review conference, can I bring someone else?

It is very important that you attend the behaviour review conference if you can as it is an opportunity for you to have your voice and version of events heard. A discussion on which school or education provider you might transfer to if the expulsion proceeds will also be had at this meeting.

Your relevant person should work with your school to find a suitable time so that both you and they can attend this meeting. If you do not attend this meeting, then it can be held without you.

When will I know if I have been expelled or not?

You must be told of the final decision no more than 48 hours after the behaviour review conference. You and your relevant person should also be provided with the following documentation:

  • Notice of Expulsion
  • Expulsion brochure
  • Expulsion Appeal pro-forma
What happens if I am expelled? Where will I go to school? Do I get a say?

As part of the expulsion process, your school must discuss with you options for your future education and training. You should attend these meetings and have input into the process.

Expulsion is a serious consequence for behaviours that meet the grounds for expulsion. However, this does not mean that your education will stop. Expulsion and transition to a new school can provide you with a fresh start.

Usually you will be supported to transition into another school in your area or region. Pending your age and education and vocational interests you may be supported to undertake training at a registered training organisations, such as a TAFE, or be supported to consider a range of other training and employment opportunities.

I think my expulsion was unfair. Can I do something about it?

Yes, you can appeal your expulsion on the following grounds:

  • the school did not follow the expulsion process
  • grounds for expulsion are considered unfair
  • there were demonstrably limited prior interventions and strategies used by the school prior to the decision to expel where the student has a history of behavioural issues
  • other extenuating circumstances

You should discuss your intention to appeal with your relevant person.

To appeal your expulsion you and your relevant person will need to fill out the expulsion appeal proforma given to you when you received the notification of expulsion within 10 school days of receiving it.

What happens if I appeal my expulsion? Will I be able to attend school?

Until the appeal process is complete and a decision has been made, the transition plan agreed to at the behaviour review conference will still go ahead. This means that you may attend another school or education provider while your appeal is considered.

If you transition to another school is held up, then the your expelling school should provide you with school work until a final decision is made.

What happens during the appeal, do I get to present my case?

The decision on whether your appeal will be upheld or overturned will be made by the Regional Director of the Departmental region which your school is in.

As part of their considerations, they may appoint an Expulsion Review Panel to consider your case. If this occurs you and your relevant person will be contacted to take part in an meeting with the panel to put your case forward.

When presenting your case, you can provide the panel any additional documentation or information that may support your appeal.

When will I find out the outcome of the appeal?

You should be notified within 24 hours of the decision being made.

If the expulsion is overturned arrangements will be made for you to re-enrol at your school.

If the decision to expel is upheld arrangements will be made for your transfer to a new school or education provider if this has not already taken place.

Where can I go for more information or support?

For more information on suspension and expulsion procedures you can refer to the Student Engagement and Inclusion Guidelines: Disciplinary Measures

If you require additional information and support, you should contact the Community Liaison Officer at your closest Regional Office.

To access contact details for the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development Regional Offices, see: Structure

Further support can be sought from the following agencies:

Headspace
Headspace can provide support and advice on any mental health issues you may be experiencing. You can visit the website for more information on where your closest Headspace centre is. For more information, see: headspace

Kids Helpline
Phone: 1800 55 1800
Website: Kids Helpline

Youth Beyond Blue
Phone: 1300 22 4636
Website: Youth Beyond Blue

Victorian Multicultural Commission
Phone: 9208 3184
Website: Victorian Multicultural Commission

Victorian Aboriginal Education Association Inc
Phone: 9416 3833
Website: Victorian Aboriginal Education Association Inc