Call for curbs on school exclusions

Dominion Post 16 Feb 2012
Decisions by school boards to permanently exclude pupils should be subject to greater control, the ombudsman says. The Children’s Commission, meanwhile, is calling for a review of the school exclusion system and warning that trustees are condemning children to failure. Ombudsman David McGee said school boards made far-reaching decisions about suspensions, expulsions and exclusions that had major impacts on pupils’ lives. The system had serious deficiencies and limited rights of appeal, he said. External agencies needed more input and greater power of review over trustees’ decisions. About 1470 pupils were permanently excluded or expelled from schools last year.

….Children’s Commissioner Russell Wills said elected trustees often made questionable decisions to permanently remove pupils but there was no appeals process for families. “It’s a system designed to fail. You’ve got lay people with little training or support making very important decisions with no national system to ensure consistency. The consequences of the decision are profound. Many children are not able to be enrolled in another school and that condemns that child often to a life of failure.”