JIS News

Students, who have been suspended from school for a maximum of 10 days without notification of any subsequent action or decision taken by the school authorities during that period, cannot be further punished for the same offence.
This is the word from Dorrett Campbell, Director of Communications in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture.
Miss Campbell told JIS News that, “a principal may suspend a student for a period not exceeding 10 days if the student’s conduct is of such that it is likely to have a detrimental effect on the discipline of the institution.”
In such an instance, the principal is obliged to notify the board, the student council and the parents/guardian in writing, stating the reasons for the suspension. The board, pending its investigation, can suspend the student for an additional period not exceeding five days beyond the period of suspension already given by the principal.
During this initial 10 days, the student must be informed of any further action taken, such as expulsion. If the 10 days expire and the student is not notified of any further action taken against him/her, the child is deemed to have been already punished, and therefore cannot be further punished for the same offence, the Communications Director stressed.
Suspension, Miss Campbell explained, serves the purpose of giving the offending student time-out to reflect on his or her improper conduct and in some instances, to get counselling for behaviour modification.
“The parents must be notified in writing about the suspension and should accompany the offending student to school when the suspension expires to discuss with the school, strategies to modify the student’s behaviour,” Miss Campbell continued.
“Permanent exclusion,” she pointed out, “can result when a student’s behaviour becomes a threat to other students and members of the immediate teaching and learning environment.” This includes acts, which can cause injury to another student or staff member or when the student commits a criminal offence.
It must be clearly understood that suspension and expulsion are extreme measures and should be resorted to only after all other efforts have failed to effect an improvement in the student’s behaviour, Miss Campbell explained.
Only the Board of Directors of a school has the power to expel a student, the Ministry official pointed out. Elaborating on the process, Miss Campbell said that where the student has, for instance, been in a fight in which someone has been hurt, “the [offender] can be suspended immediately, pending a report to the board, an investigation by the board and a subsequent decision or action taken by the board.”
She also noted that where students committed offences against the school as well as against the state, this was deemed a criminal offence. In the latter case, it becomes a police matter and as such, a student can be handed over to the police.
Once a student is expelled, he or she may be admitted to another public school, she continued, while assuring that expulsion does not mean the end of the student’s educational experience. In such a case, a confidential report on the circumstances surrounding the expulsion should be given to the principal of the receiving school.
The Communications Director added that the Ministry of Education would have cause to intervene, if the guidelines outlined in the 1980 Education Regulations for suspension or expulsion were not observed.

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