Stand-downs, suspensions, exclusions and expulsions guidelines – Part 2

About the guidelines

These guidelines:

  • are designed to assist school boards, principals, and teachers with their legal options and duties and meet their obligations under relevant statutory requirements, and
  • are for use in all state and state-integrated schools.

Independent schools may also wish to adopt this guide.

Please note: in the documents below the Education and Training Act 2020 has replaced the Education Act 1989.

The guidelines comprise:

Part 1: Legal options and duties [PDF, 2.4 MB]

Part 2: Good practice [PDF, 2.4 MB]

These guidelines replace those published by the Ministry of Education in June 2004 and the 2007 Supplement. The paragraphs have been numbered for ease of use and reference. Cross-references to Part 1 – Legal options and duties are given where relevant.

3. Involving other people when managing student behaviour

Incidents that occur involving students may be complex, involving one or more people from within the school and within the local community. When making a decision about your school’s response to student behaviour, it may be helpful to think about situations when other people could be involved.

  • Contacting people within the school
    • When managing an incident of student behaviour it is important for boards to determine exactly what happened, who was involved and who should be involved.

      Ask these questions of your school

      Do we know exactly what happened? Do we know the facts? [Refer Section 2: 6. Investigation and interviewing]

      Do we know who was involved, both directly and indirectly? Did the behaviour involve one or more students? Did it involve bystanders, witnesses or electronic media such as the internet and/or cellphones?

      Are there religious or cultural values to consider? Is a translator needed?

      Do we know the effect of the behaviour on the student/s involved, the school and the local community? Can we deal with this matter in another way? [Refer Section 2: 8. Effects on others]

      Do we need to inform all school staff? Does the local Social Worker in School, Resource Teacher: Learning and Behaviour or public health nurse need to be notified?

      Does our Special Education Needs Coordinator need to be involved? Does our guidance counsellor/transition/careers advisor need to be involved?

  • Contacting people within the community
    • Sometimes an incident of student behaviour can have wider implications.

      Ask these questions of your school

      Are there immediate safety issues for our students or school?

      Do emergency services need to be contacted? Do we have an updated list of emergency service contacts? Does our insurance company need to be contacted?

      Do we suspect abuse of any kind? Does it need to be reported to others?

  • Contacting other professional people or agencies
    • Depending on the nature of the incident, it may be appropriate for your school to contact other agencies.

      Ask these questions of your school

      Do we know the full details about the situation and the behaviour? Do we call the Police if the behaviour has broken the law?

      Note: Police should be called to investigate any incidents involving drugs, assault and serious dishonesty. The Police have the powers to conduct searches and investigations about illegal matters.

      Have we considered contacting the local Ministry office to discuss support? Eg, Interim Response Fund, Refugee or Migrant Education Coordinator, Special Education Facilitator, Special Education.

      Do we need to notify the local Ministry Traumatic Incident Coordinator? Do we have an up-to-date traumatic incident response plan and team?

      Note: Any immediate safety issues concerning a student or school should be reported to the Police. When a serious incident occurs it is important that schools involve the Police and not leave this task to parents.

      Note: Any issues concerning the welfare of a student under the age of 16 years should be reported to Child, Youth and Family.

  • Examples of situations where students may face a stand-down or suspension and the school has involved other people
    • Example 1

      A 14-year-old boy was assaulted on school grounds after school hours during a school team sports practice. The student sustained injuries requiring hospital treatment. The incident was recorded on a cellphone by another student and teachers were informed that the video clip was posted on the internet.

      The school contacted the sports coach, and the parents of the children concerned, about the incident. The Police were contacted to intercept the video recording and block the internet site. Child, Youth and Family were contacted as both boys involved were under 16 years. All school staff and parents were informed of the incident. New policies were put in place covering supervision of students at after-school sports practice as well as cellphone use.

      The principal suspended and the board later extended the suspension. The board imposed a number of conditions aimed at returning the student to school.

      Example 2

      A student was a chronic truant and had a complex family situation involving siblings at another school – prostitution, drugs, violence and gang connections. The principal referred the student to Strengthening Families and a meeting was held between the two schools. Work and Income, Housing New Zealand, Child, Youth and Family, and Police Youth Aid were also involved. However, the family refused to attend. The outcome was a combined intervention by the Police and Child, Youth and Family for the student. The secondary outcome was a strengthened relationship between the schools and agencies involved.

  • Useful contacts