Student Disciplinary Hearing

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I am a member of the disciplinary Hearing Authority of our school along with three other teachers, three students, two parents, one non-teaching member of staff, the principal and his deputy.

Fortunately we rarely meet for a formal hearing; informal hearings are more frequent. Yesterday was an exception.

The student in question was a nineteen year old boy with a record of frequent absences and tardiness. When he was present, he was either disturbing lessons or half-asleep. He was also a low-achiver and was older than most of peers due to a year he had repeated and a change in his curriculum – he had switched a sceintific course to a more office-orientated one.

This was only part of the story: the reason he had been summoned to this hearing yesterday was aggressive and threatening attitude towards a member of staff.

It took us about an hour to listen to the various reports which had been written about him since September. Several people were asked to testify about his behavior. The student and his family were present throughout the procedure and were allowed to intervene at the end. Then they were asked to leave the room and we debated the case.

Most people (including myself) voted in favor of his being expelled permanently, for various reasons. One of them being the repeated aggressive behavior: the worst incident was unfortunately not the only violent episode.

This was not as easy a decision as it may seem. It is always hard to decide to get rid of a student however disturbing he might be. In this particular case, we also knew that it would be difficult for him to find a school that would be ready to accept him.

When we started the hearing, the principal reminded us that no one emerges unscathed from such a hearing; this is very true. You can never be certain that you have made the right decision and you can also read the anxiety on the student’s face as well as on his parents’. Yet we also have to keep in mind the rest of the class and the teachers who are supposed to teach them.

Overall it is far from being a plesant experience – too much like navigating murky waters in foggy weather.

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11 thoughts on “Student Disciplinary Hearing

  1. too much like navigating murky waters in foggy weather.
    Sounds like it was extremely uncomfortable for all parties involved.

    It’s interesting that there are students on the committee. Are they more likely to vote in favor of their fellow student?

  2. Uncomfortable is the right word. It is one thing to hear about a case and quite another to be actually in front of the people concerned (parents included). I have attended three formal disciplinary hearings in a bout seven years and, for some reasons, this is the worst.

    I think the students voted against him. One girl asked questions and was very active in the debate. The other two were much more quiet.

  3. I like your teacher posts. Gives us more insight into your life. Can kids be kicked out of public school? Cuz if so, what’s left for them to go to?

    It also amuses me that the stories of your life take place in French (right?) which is always something I need to remind myself since I imagine them in English – the language you choose to write in. I guess the same thing goes for my blog too, then. Crazy world.

    • When a kid is kicked out of a public school (like in this case) another public school is found for him and is supposed to accept him. Sometimes the kid and his family use this as an opportunity to find something different.
      Yes, the stories of my life take place in French.

  4. Sounds difficult. Did you read Therapy Doc’s latest post? Maybe you shouldn’t. It’s more upsetting than yours. Sigh. It’s not easy being an educator.

    Has anyone recommended therapy for this young man? He sounds very angry.

  5. I do not envy you that role. When I was in retail and one of the management team, I was responsible for disciplining my team of staff. That was tough enough, but disciplining students must be much more difficult. You must be looking forward to Shabbat and the rest of the weekend more than usual.

    • This has been a trying week – with more incidents and clashes in different classes (not mine) – yesterday and this morning – so yes I am loking forward to Shabbat and pray I manage to fend off the migraine I can feel coming.

  6. Pingback: Not Less Weary | Ilana-Davita

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