Directive from the Director General to Principals of all schools
Required action to be taken with students fighting or publishing videos of fighting
Students who fight or make intentional physical contact with other students disrupt the good order that we expect in our public schools and cause harm and injury to other students who have a right to a safe learning environment. Students fighting, making intentional physical contact with other students and videoing fights are actions that are unacceptable and a breach of school discipline.
Principals have the power to suspend a student under section 90 of the School Education Act 1999.
The following Direction of the Director General is issued under section 232 of the School Education Act 1999.
This Direction comes into effect on 4 February 2019 and relates to required actions to be taken where students start fights, make intentional physical contact with other students or video fights.
It is a breach of school discipline when it is established through an investigation into an incident that a student started a fight, made physical contact with the intention to harm another student or videoed a fight in the grounds of the school or off-site where there is a reasonable nexus between the incident and the school. The student identified is to be suspended for a period of time consistent with Regulation 43 of the School Education Regulations 2000.
The principal of the school is to determine if the incident is a breach of school discipline (maximum five day suspension period) or a serious breach of school discipline (maximum 10 day suspension period).
All schools are to implement a good standing policy and any student who starts a fight, makes physical contact with the intention to harm another student or videos a fight is to lose good standing and will not be permitted to participate in school non curricula activities. A student's good standing can be re-instated after such a period decided by the principal and should be outlined in the student re-entry plan or student behaviour plan.
I am aware that many schools take a strong stand against fighting and already have automatic suspensions and loss of good standing in place for fighting, violence and videoing fights. All schools are now required to implement these measures in order to assist in maintaining a safe learning environment.
This Direction will be reflected in the requirements related to the Student Behaviour policy and further advice provided to principals through the Keeping our Workplace Safe resource and professional learning.
In issuing this Direction, I acknowledge that the majority of schools have excellent strategies and plans in place for responding to unacceptable student behaviour.
Thank you for your assistance in this matter.