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.

Licensing Criteria Cover

8. Effects on others

While schools manage student behaviour and discipline students who have breached school rules, schools must also manage the effects on others. To inform your school’s response to student behaviour where victims may be involved, it may be helpful to consider the following factors:

  • Ways of being affected by an incident
    • Boards are required to provide a safe physical and emotional environment. To uphold this requirement, it is important to identify all those affected by an incident so that appropriate support can be provided.

      As a result of an incident, others may have suffered physical injury, emotional harm, lost property or had property damaged, for example.

  • Who can be affected by an incident?
    • When managing an incident within a school, it is important to assess the effect on others. As the effects can be widespread, it is helpful to identify those who are:

      • directly involved in the incident
      • in some way immediately affected eg, eyewitnesses, those that help
      • removed from the incident but still impacted eg, immediate neighbours, community members, former victims.
  • Support for those affected by an incident?
    • When assessing the appropriate support for those affected by an incident, it is good practice to take into account varying needs. Some services can be accessed through the school and others can be provided by outside agencies.

      Ask these questions of your school

      Have we considered what the varying needs may be? Are there cultural or gender issues to consider? Are there community or regional issues?

      Are there political issues?

      Have we offered support to any of those affected by the incident? In addition to educational needs, have any privacy, welfare, health, counselling, medical or legal needs been considered?

      Do we need to contact the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) to see if the student is eligible to receive compensation and/or be assisted with treatment? (ACC provides funding assistance for counselling for victims of sexual abuse.)

  • Preventing re-victimisation
    • Maintaining the safety and wellbeing of all students at school is a priority for schools.

      There are many ways in which re-victimisation can occur as a result of an incident. These include disrespectful treatment from other students and within the wider community. Over recent years electronic communication mediums (cell phones and social networking websites) have also been used to re-victimise students.

      Note: It is important for schools to be mindful that publication of some incidents in the media may have a detrimental effect upon students, the school and the community. Talking about some incidents at school and publishing them can also be a form of re-victimisation for some.

      Ask these questions of your school

      Do we have any plans for managing the effect of incidents on other students? Have we considered strategies for reducing re-victimisation?

      Do we have a plan to support students in classes, between classes and at breaks? Can our school adopt a flexible timetable to support students?

  • Useful links
      • Victims of Crime - a single point of contact linking with information from across government and community websites. Whether or not you have reported an offence to the Police, there are services also available through the Victims of Crime Information Line on 0800 650 654. This line is available 9:00am–11:00pm, 7 days a week
      • Victim Support provides 24-hour emotional support, personal advocacy and information to victims of crime and trauma throughout New Zealand. To reach your local Victim Support office, telephone 0800 VICTIM or (0800 842846)
      • Accident Compensation Corporation, telephone 0800 101 996 for general enquiries or 0800 735 566 for victims of sexual abuse
      • The New Zealand Schools Trustees Association (NZSTA) represents and provides services to boards of trustees across New Zealand. NZSTA provides governance support services, industrial relations and advice free of charge. Boards of trustees can access the NZSTA National Office Trusteeship helpdesk for all matters relating to trusteeship. The Helpdesk is staffed five days a week during office hours, 8:00am to 5:00pm. 0800 STA HELP (0800 782 4357), fax (04) 473 4706, email helpdesk@nzsta.org.nz
      • Information about privacy is contained in a publication called Privacy in Schools.
  • Examples of situations where schools have supported students affected by incidents at school
    • Example 1

      A teacher noticed a student was consistently missing physical education class on a weekly basis. The student would ask to be excused and did not want to attend the session. The teacher was contemplating discussing with the principal disciplinary action for this behaviour. The teacher subsequently discovered that the student did not want to attend because she was being bullied.

      The teacher spoke with the student about the situation and then put in place a plan to prevent the bullying during the class. The class was split into two smaller training groups which separated the victim from the bullies. The matter was also discussed with the student’s parents. The student attended physical education class the next week.

      Example 2

      A 15-year-old was found fighting with a group of students during the lunch break. The teacher broke up the fight and gave all involved a verbal warning.

      The next week, one of the students was caught fighting with another group of students. The teacher brought the student before the principal with a view to impose a stand-down for the behaviour. At the meeting with the principal, the student told the principal that the reason he was fighting was because he was being teased at school due to a video clip on the internet. The video clip showed the boy getting changed after sports practice.

      In this situation, the principal decided not to impose a stand-down. The principal sought assistance from the Police to close down the link on the internet. She started an investigation to find out who filmed the clip and placed it on the internet. The principal imposed a stand-down for the student who did the filming and posted the clip on the internet.