School suspensions

For free and confidential legal advice about this topic, please contact us here.

The rules on suspensions and expulsions are different depending on whether you go to a public government school or a private school. This page only applies if you go to a public school in South Australia. If you attend a private, independent or Catholic school please contact us here with your question.  

Every Australian child has a right to education. This means your school cannot suspend or expel you without very good reasons and a clear process. It also means your school must act fairly if they are planning on suspending or expelling you from school. If you think you are being unfairly punished, you can appeal the decision.

Navigate this page

What is suspension?

Suspension is when the school asks you to leave school for a short time up to 5 days.

What can I be suspended for?

The head teacher of your school may suspend you if the head teacher believes that:

  • You have been violent or threatened violence; or
  • Your behaviour threatens the safety or well-being of a student, a staff member or other person associated with the school;  or
  • You have done something illegal; or
  • You make it hard for teachers to teach other students and yourself; or
  • Your behaviour threatens the running of the school because you continually break school rules; or
  • You continually and purposely don’t pay attention to or show you don’t care about school work.

How long can I be suspended ?

You can be suspended for up to 5 days.    

What happens during a suspension?

While you are suspended, the school should hold a meeting called a “conference”  between you, your parents and someone from the school (usually the principal or another teacher). If you have a short suspension, the meeting might be after the suspension is over, but it should still happen.

  • At the conference, everyone will try to agree a student development plan.  This is a plan to work out how you can improve your behaviour, who can help you along the way, and what happens if you don’t follow the plan.

If you go to school or stay at school after you have been suspended, excluded or expelled, without written permission from the head teacher, you may have to pay a fine of up to $200.

What if I disagree with the suspension?

Unfortunately you can’t appeal a suspension in South Australia.  You have no right to appeal a decision by the head teacher to suspend you.   But you can discuss whether you think the suspension is fair when you meet for the suspension conference.  If you still think the suspension was unfair and don’t resolve it in the conference, you can make a complaint to the District Director of Education.  You can find your local Director’s contact details here:

What if you think you have been discriminated against?

Click here for more information about discrimination at school.

What will a suspension mean for your future?

A suspension or exclusion will be put on your student record. Your student record is not a public document and information cannot be disclosed from it without your consent.

For more information

If you have been suspended, excluded or expelled from school you should get advice about your rights as soon as possible. You need to act quickly to ensure that you minimise as much as possible any disruption or break in your education. You can:

  • Get help here;
  • Speak to a lawyer in person

Children’s and Youth Legal Service of South Australia provides legal advice, assistance, representation and referral on legal and non-legal matters to children and young people under 18 in South Australia. Their details are:

Unit 2/59 Main North Road
Medindie Gardens
SA 5081
Ph: (08) 8342 1800
Email: [email protected]

Finally, if you are finding that being out of school is very difficult and stressful and you are feeling a bit down you can call Kids Helpline or check them out here:

The Helpline is free and you don’t have to tell them who you are. You can also call them for free on 1800 55 1800.

Got a question you can't get answered?

If you have a problem or a question, you can send it to us today and we can provide you with free advice, information and referrals to help solve your problem. Just click on the button below.

Get help now

Select Your State or Territory

The law is different in each state and territory. Please select your state or territory to view legal information that applies to you.