Tuesday 12 December 2017

Over 13,000 children suspended in a year

Schools have considerable autonomy in relation to discipline under current legislation (Stock image)
Schools have considerable autonomy in relation to discipline under current legislation (Stock image)

Darragh McDonagh

More than 13,000 children were suspended by post-primary schools, and 145 were expelled during the academic year 2013-14, the Minister for Children has revealed.

And in 2014, a total of €280,000 was spent on 66 appeals processes in respect of decisions to expel or suspend pupils. These costs cover mediation fees, facilitators' fees, and travel costs

The most recent data was provided by Katherine Zappone this week in response to a parliamentary question in the Dáil.

She revealed that 13,316 pupils were suspended for serious misbehaviour during the relevant period, and a further 145 were permanently expelled.

Schools have considerable autonomy in relation to discipline under current legislation. However, they are obliged to ensure that fair procedures are followed.

Pupils may be suspended in cases of serious misbehaviour. In such cases, parents are notified and may appeal the decision to the school's board of management and ultimately, to the Department of Education.

In cases where a school is considering the expulsion of a pupil, an education welfare officer must be notified and attempts must be made to find a solution.

The pupil may not be expelled for 20 days after the notification of an education welfare officer in order to allow time for the process to be exhausted.

Irish Independent

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