Wednesday, 1 December 1999
Dáil Éireann Debate
42. Mr. Callely asked the Minister for Education and Science his views on the need for a clear unambiguous code of behaviour and discipline for post-primary school; the procedures for these to be implemented; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25176/99]
Minister for Education and Science (Mr. Martin): School managerial authorities are responsible for ensuring that a fair and efficient code of behaviour, encompassing rules and procedures, is drawn up and applied in schools. Circumstances vary from one school community to another and it would not be appropriate for me to set out a formal and detailed code of behaviour for all schools. However, my Department has issued guidelines to assist schools in discharging their responsibilities in this area. The guidelines outline the general principles to be followed in drawing up and implementing a code of behaviour in schools.
The Education (Welfare) Bill, 1999 currently before the Houses will, when enacted, require schools for the first time to prepare codes of behaviour which specify the types of behaviour requiring disciplinary measures, the nature of these measures and the procedures to be followed by school authorities. This Bill will bring about a greater degree of uniformity in the way schools approach the issue of discipline generally in our schools.
Work is under way in my Department on the drawing up of school procedures for dealing with pupil and parent grievances as provided for in the Education Act, 1998. The Act also provides for a statutory right of appeal against decisions of boards of management, including decisions concerning suspension and expulsion. This right of appeal will greatly strengthen the capacity to balance all rights and obligations in this difficult area.
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