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At HWDSB, we know safety is essential to good learning. Every student deserves to feel secure on school grounds and during school-related activities. While we strive to create positive and caring learning spaces, there are instances where serious or repeated inappropriate behaviours may lead to suspension. 

All members of the school community have a responsibility to uphold the HWDSB Code of Conduct. Violations of the Code of Conduct will be addressed through relevant policy and legislation, with the suspension process clearly outlined in HWDSB policies and policy directives 

Understanding Suspensions 

A suspension means that a student is prohibited from entering school premises and participating in any school-related activities, both on and off school grounds. A suspension can range from one day up to a maximum of 20 school days. A Principal may suspend a student if they believe the student has engaged in any of the following activities: 

  • Uttering a threat to inflict serious bodily harm on another person 
  • Possessing alcohol or illegal drugs 
  • Being under the influence of alcohol 
  • Swearing at a teacher or person in authority 
  • Committing an act of vandalism that causes extensive damage to school property 
  • Bullying 
  • Physically or mentally hurting another person 
  • Persistent opposition to authority 
  • Behaving in a way that affects the positive tone of the school 
  • Behaving in a way that affects the physical or mental wellbeing of any member of the school community 
  • Acting in a way that would be contrary to the Board or school’s Code of Conduct 

Guidance for Families 

What to expect on the day of suspension: 

  • The school will contact you the day your child is suspended, providing details about the suspension. 
  • A suspension letter will be sent home, outlining the reason(s), duration and supports available (e.g., homework). 
  • A meeting with you, your child and the school will be arranged before their return. 

Reviewing the situation with your child: 

  • Listen to their account of what happened. 
  • Help your child to understand the reason for the suspension. 
  • If necessary, develop a plan of action, which may include medical or community support. 
  • Discuss improvement goals with your child. 

Speaking with the Principal:  

  • Be clear about the events that led to the suspension. 
  • Talk openly with the Principal about the consequences. 
  • Understand that your child is responsible for their actions. 
  • Be aware of what further supports are available for your child.
  • Arrange a formal meeting with a Principal. 

Suspension Appeal Process 

If you feel your child has been unfairly suspended, request a meeting with your school Superintendent. If you still disagree with the suspension after a meeting, you must send written notice of a request for an appeal to the Superintendent within 10 school days of the start of the suspension. The appeal will be heard within 15 school days of the Board receiving notice of appeal. 

Progressive Discipline Approach 

HWDSB is dedicated to a progressive discipline approach, emphasizing positive student behaviour to build and sustain a positive school climate. We support the use of suspension and expulsion as outlined in the Education Act, supported by HWDSB initiatives such as Safe and Caring Schools, Character Development, and the Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy. Click here to learn more about Progressive Discipline.

When determining the length of a suspension, a principal shall consider any mitigating or other factors prescribed such as: 

  • Whether the student can control their behaviour. 
  • Whether the student can understand the consequences of their behaviour. 
  • Whether the student’s continuing presence in the school does or does not create an unacceptable risk to self or any other individual in the school. 

More Information 

Updated on Tuesday, March 05, 2024.
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