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NSW Son Suspended from Primary School - Unfair Treatment by Principal?

Discussion in 'Other/General Law Forum' started by Madison Hannah, 19 January 2016.

  1. Madison Hannah

    21 December 2015
    Likes Received:
    My 10-year-old son was suspended on Wed and Thurs (short suspension) for a fight that happened on Monday previously. His friend wouldn't let him past out of the cricket nets (limited area to pass by) and while the friend was blocking him (his back to my son) my son put his hands on the other boy's upper arms to move him aside so he could go to the toilet.

    This boy then raised his elbow and hit my son in the face with quite a bit of force, causing my son to stumble forwards. The other boy while slightly shorter is stocky too and had to reach up to make contact with my son's face. This was not an accident as the parents claim. The other boy ran off, my son got angry and gave chase. The other boy ran back into the cricket nets and was cornered. My son and he grabbed each other's hands (linking fingers) and were kicking each other in the shins. The other boy then ran off.

    No adult saw the incident and it was not reported by anyone.

    An email was sent to the school Monday evening from the other boy's parents to with photos of injuries that this family claim my son had caused (scratches on his upper back, on his torso and a bruise on his arm). I would dispute all three photos as my son didn't scratch the other boy (front and back) and with linking fingers, there's no way he could have punched him in the arm causing the bruise. The boy has older sisters which beg the question there.

    However, back to the suspension. The principal contacted me on Wed to say my son was suspended for 2 days for fighting. He wanted to suspend him for the last day and first day back in 2016. I pleaded if I could pick him up immediately and have the 2-day suspension completed by the last day of term. He agreed.

    I still didn't have a clear idea of what my son had done and went into the school to find out. My son was made a prefect for 2016, chosen by the teachers and has had exemplary behaviour prior to this incident. The other boy put himself forward to be a prefect, too, and was not chosen. His mother told me at the soccer field how upset he was and the whole process was 'rigged' (prior to the fight).

    Now this other boy who initially hit my son in the face and caused numbness in his face for a couple of days did not get suspended. I asked the principal why and his explanation was 'it's his first offence', as it was my son's first offence also. I dispute the photos were caused by my son, and as they were taken after school, and no report was made by the fight, the injuries could have happened at any time before or after the incident either in school or outside school.

    I am a newly single parent and the issue of our 'family circumstances' was brought up several times in the meeting, even though my husband was there too, in support of finding out why our son was suspended (we went into the school on Thursday to ask the questions as to why he was suspended). The school counsellor had seen my son to check-in that he was ok at my request in Term 3. The separation has been calm and civilised. However, the Principal termed that my son now has 'anger issues', which simply isn't the case prior, following or currently. I have spoken to the counsellor who was very positive that my son was quiet and well-adjusted.

    My problem with this scenario is that we have been treated unfairly. How can it be that my son retaliated to being hit in the face with kicking in the shins and he is suspended and the other boy is not? The other boy caused a head injury and isn't being given a consequence. They are all taking the photos as a given that my son caused the injuries, however, it doesn't make sense how the scratches on the back could happen when he didn't touch his back at all and the same with the front injuries due to the linking of the hands/fingers.

    The father is a lawyer and I feel that whatever the spin was put on the incident, whether they want their son to be prefect in place of mine, I'm not sure, but the situation really seems unjust.
    Patchouligirl2000 likes this.
  2. Sophea

    Sophea Guest

    Hi Madison,

    Is it a public or private school? Official policy for NSW public school dictates that students or parents may appeal a decision to suspend the student if they consider that correct procedures have not been followed, and/or that an unfair decision has been reached. You should do this in writing, stating the grounds on which the appeal is being made. It can be made to the the Director, Public Schools NSW about the imposition of a suspension. The Director is required then to deal with the appeal within 20 school days of lodgement, keep the appellants aware of progress, review all relevant material and ensure that the relevant issues are discussed with all parties involved.

    You can read about the proper procedures here:
  3. sammy01

    sammy01 Well-Known Member

    27 September 2015
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    Look, I'm a teacher in a public school. So with that in mind, my opinion goes like this.

    Tell your kid not to hit, not to chase. So Based on what you've written and in particular "The other boy ran off, my son got angry and gave chase", based on that alone, your son has escalated the situation by chasing the other boy. So he is the aggressor. I'm not defending the school's position, but as someone who works within a school, that is they way this stuff is often dealt with.

    Yep, you can appeal etc., but I think your energies would be better spent teaching your kid how to respond without escalating the situation.

    As a single dad, I also think you've done the right thing discussing the separation with your school and for what it is worth I think the principal is jumping to assumptions about your kid. I'm also aware that schools tend to take the path of least resistance so confronted with some irate parent (with a law degree) I reckon I can see how this would have panned out.

    To be honest, I could well imagine the other parent threatening to take it to the police, so in some respects, the principal has saved you having to deal with the bother of the cops etc.
  4. Patchouligirl2000

    22 April 2018
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    Hi Madison,

    I sympathize completely the exact same thing happened to me. My son complained to a teacher the day before that another child was provoking him. The other child started the fight by shoulder shoving my son, (apparently earlier in the day he tried to strangle him) and having put up with a lot of sledging by this kid previously, my son lost it and punched him. Then the other kid said 'that didn't even hurt' so my son hit him on the head with a stick. Then the other kid threw sticks at my son. None of the other childs actions made the report - it was made to look as if my son simply attacked him for no reason at all, but there were two of them in the fight, my kid didn't start it. My son got suspended. The other kid got off scot free.

    In my experience nepotism is endemic in Public Schools. If a kids parent is on the school council or volunteers free labour for the school, their bullying transgressions get swept under the carpet. In this instance the boys mother volunteers in the school canteen. 10 months ago the son of the president of the P & C's kid threw a golf ball that hit my kid in the head and left quite a bump - but nobody ever got punished for it. The school didn't even bother to let us know.

    On this occasion we were not told there was the possibility of a suspension, we were not given the opportunity to be present when our son was questioned. We have still not been given the witness statements. They tried to tell us there is an epidemic of kids with anxiety and tried to blame computer games. They said they wanted to 'support' our child returning to school. We said that our kid has no record of any other incident like this and it would take a lot of pushing his buttons to get a reaction like this. We said they've done nothing to support him so far so why would we return him to their school. We said we can't move forward until the report is rectified to include all the contextual information. We asked that one of the witnesses be recalled to the office for the meeting as I had spoken to him already and knew the real story. They refused.

    I am now in the process of appealing as there were issues with fair process (the Principal who conducted the interviews also made the final decision to suspend) and due to the general inequity of the punishments handed down, the fact that we were kept in the dark until a week after the event and the inaccuracy of the report which will apparently stay on our son's record.

    As we live in a small community the fallout has spilled into our social lives. My boy was turned away at the door of another school friend today as the other kid lied and told him that he had broken his nose. Fortunately in such a small community such lies can be sorted out eventually but we do not appreciate the experience and I am concerned for the long term effect of the suspension on my child's self esteem.

    A better punishment would have been to make the two boys do playground duty together, it would have given them the opportunity to sort it out and it would have blown over. Instead I have removed my child from the school and the bad feeling continues. This stupid policy to suspend and the nepotism with which it is applied needs to stop.

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