Minister for Education John-Paul Langbroek
Minister for Education John-Paul Langbroek David Nielsen

Langbroek says schools safer under new laws

A CONTROVERSIAL plan giving principals more power to suspend and expel students facing criminal charges is now a reality.

Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek said new laws passed by the Queensland Parliament this week meant schools would be safer.

From next year, principals can seek students' criminal information from the education director-general.

The laws allow them to suspend students facing charges for murder, rape, attempted murder, arson and other crimes considered to put students and staff at risk.

The plan was slammed by lawyers from across regional Queensland last month.

They said the move would impact the future of students and could hurt their presumption of innocence.

"This government has an unrelenting focus on improving student discipline and empowering schools to achieve better outcomes for students," Mr Langbroek said.

"Only the director-general will have the power to obtain information from police to confirm whether a student has been charged with or convicted of a serious offence.

Mr Langbroek said principals would complete risk assessment training before they would be able to request and access the sensitive information. 

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The new legislation also allows:

- Regional directors to prosecute parents who don't send their children to school.

- Limiting the enrolment of mature age students to schools set up to cater for them.

- Principals to decide whether or not an adult is to be enrolled, taking into account any criminal history information.

- Starting special assistance schools to support the re-engagement of disengaged youth in education.

- Enhanced autonomy of non-state school principals.

 

- APN NEWSDESK


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