Queensland Advocacy Incorporated (QAI) and The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service (Qld) Limited (ATSILS) are publicly calling upon the Queensland Human Rights Commissioner to conduct an inquiry into the use of school disciplinary absences in Queensland state schools.
QAI and ATSILS are deeply concerned about students with disability and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students being suspended and excluded from school more frequently than their peers.
Under the Human Rights Act 2019 (Qld), the Department of Education has a legal obligation to uphold every child’s right to access a primary and secondary education that is appropriate to their needs. However, figures obtained through a Right to Information request show an unjustifiable and disproportionate use of school disciplinary absences among certain groups of students.
We need alternative, evidenced-based solutions to discipline that will successfully reduce behaviours of concern, whilst keeping students safe and engaged at school. We know that when school disciplinary absences are used sparingly alongside supportive interventions, there are better outcomes for students, families and teachers.