School
Advocacy
hamilton

:: Finding a Support Person
:: Identification, Placement and Review Committe (IPRC)
:: IPRC Appeal Process
:: Individual Education Plan (IEP)
:: Kid's Help Phone
 

| Previous | | Next |

FOR WHAT REASONS CAN A STUDENT IN ONTARIO BE SUSPENDED FROM SCHOOL?

The Education Act states that there are two kinds of activities which can lead to a student being suspended from school. They are:

  1. Activities that the principal may suspend the student for; and
  2. Activities that the principal must suspend the student for.

In both cases, it is a prerequisite that the student must have engaged in the 'activity' while they were either at school, at a school-related activity or in another circumstance where the student's activity would have an impact on the school climate.

1. Activities that may lead to suspension

The school's principal may decide to suspend a student if they believe that the student has taken part in any of the following activities:

  1. Uttering a threat to inflict serious bodily harm on another person;
  2. Possessing alcohol or illegal drugs;
  3. Being under the influence of alcohol;
  4. Swearing at a teacher or at another person in a position of authority;
  5. Committing an act of vandalism that causes damage to school property and/or the school premises;
  6. Bullying; or
  7. Any other activity that is an activity for which a principal may suspend a student under a policy of the board.

Other factors to be considered

When deciding whether to suspend a student for any of the activities listed above, the principal must consider:

  1. Whether the student is able to control their behaviour;
  2. Whether the student is able to understand the consequences of their behaviour;
  3. Whether the student's continuing presence in the school creates an acceptable risk to the safety of other people;
  4. Whether a progressive discipline approach has been used with the student;
  5. Whether the activity that the student may be suspended for was related to any harassment of the student because of their race, ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, sexual orientation or any other reason(s);
  6. The student's history;
  7. How the suspension would affect the student's ongoing education;
  8. The age of the student; and
  9. In the case of a student for whom an individual education plan (IEP) has been developed, whether:
    • The behaviour was a manifestation of a disability identified in the student's IEP;
    • Appropriate individualized accommodation had been provided; and
    • The suspension is likely to result in a worsening of the student's behaviour.

2. Activities that must lead to suspension

The school's principal must suspend a student if they believe that the student has taken part in any of the following activities:

  1. Possessing a weapon, including possessing a firearm;
  2. Using a weapon to cause or to threaten bodily harm to another person;
  3. Committing physical assault on anther person that causes bodily harm requiring treatment by a medical practitioner;
  4. Committing sexual assault;
  5. Trafficking in weapons or in illegal drugs;
  6. Committing robbery;
  7. Giving alcohol to a minor; or
  8. Any other activity that, under a policy of a board, is an activity for which a principal must suspend a student and conduct an investigation to determine whether to recommend to the board that the student be expelled.

What happens if a student is suspended?

If a student is suspended from school, for any of the two kinds of activities listed above, then the principal must:

  1. Suspend the student from engaging in all school-related activities;
  2. Assign the student to a program for suspended students; and
  3. Provide written notice of the suspension to the student and the student's parent or guardian, unless:
    • The student is 18 years old; or
    • The student is 16 or 17 years old and has withdrawn from parental control.

What if a student is harmed or injured?

As a general rule, if the principal of a school believes that a student of the school has been harmed as a result of any of the two kinds of activities listed above, then the principal should, as soon as reasonably possible, notify the harmed student's parent or guardian of:

  1. The nature of the activity that resulted in harm to the student;
  2. The nature of the harm to the student; and
  3. The steps taken to protect the student's safety, including the nature of any disciplinary measures taken in response to the activity.

When notifying a harmed student's parent or guardian, the principal should not disclose the name or any other identifying or personal information about the other student(s) who caused the harm.

Exceptions to the general rule

There are three situations when the principal will not notify a parent or guardian that a student has been harmed as a result of any of the two kinds of activities listed above. They are when:

  1. The student is 18 years or older (unless they have previously consented otherwise);
  2. The student is 16 or 17 years old and has withdrawn from parental control (unless they have previously consented otherwise); or
  3. In the opinion of the principal, doing so would put the student at risk of harm from a parent or guardian of the student, such that the notification is not in the student's best interests.

Other issues to be aware of

There are a couple of additional changes to the Education Act which all students, parent(s) and guardian(s) should now be aware of. The changes are regarding the:

  1. Delegation of powers, duties and functions by principals; and
  2. Duty to report certain activities to the principal.

Delegation by principals

A principal of a school can now delegate or transfer any of their powers, duties or functions as a 'principal' to either:

  1. A vice-principal of the school; or
  2. A teacher of the school, if the principal and vice-principal are both absent.

Reporting to the principal

The new 'duty to report to the principal' requires two categories of people to report to the principal of the school, as soon as reasonably possible, that they are aware that a student might have been involved in one of the activities which can lead to a student being suspended from school.

The two categories of people to whom this 'duty' applies are:

  1. All school board employees (i.e. teachers); and
  2. In certain circumstances, non-school board employees, who on a regular basis come into direct contact with students during the normal course of their employment involving the direct or indirect provision of goods or services to the school board (i.e. couriers/mail delivery persons).

| Previous | | Next |