A new research paper, co-authored by researchers from the QUT Centre for Inclusive Education (C4IE) Professor Linda Graham and Dr Callula Killinlgy, and Queensland Advocacy for Inclusion (QAI), has found more evidence of Queensland students from priority equity groups being unfairly suspended from school.
Suspension rates are disproportionately high for First Nations students, students with disability and students in out of home care. When students are in more than one of these groups, the risk of suspension is even greater. Findings indicate that disability is the most common factor, raising urgent questions as to whether these students are receiving the adjustments and support to which they are entitled under legislation.
Students in all three priority equity groups also experience the highest rate of repeated suspensions. Students receiving social-emotional adjustments at school, such as neurodiverse students, are also issued repeat suspensions at a higher rate than students with other types of disability.
The paper argues that suspensions are ineffective for these students, who instead need evidenced-based preventions and supports. It stresses the need for the intersecting needs of students with disability, First Nations students and students in out of home care to be better understood, as many impacted students belong to more than one of these categories.