Principals to get controversial new powers

CONTROVERSIAL new laws giving Queensland state school principals a raft of new powers from next year have been backed by a State Parliamentary Committee.

The Education and Innovation Committee recommended seven changes under the Education (Strengthening Discipline in State Schools) Amendment Bill 2013.

Under the proposed changes, which have been tabled in State Parliament, state school principals will have the power to suspend students for unruly behaviour outside school or if they have been charged with an offence.

State school principals will also be able to hand out longer suspensions and weekend detentions.

Education and Innovation Committee chair Rosemary Menkens recommended the Bill be passed along with safeguards to prevent principals misusing their new powers.

"The Minister for Education, Training and Employment ensures that policy and procedures specify actions that students, their families and school communities can take in the event there is concern that a principal is misusing the power granted to them under the Bill, for example through using suspension for minor misdemeanours and before exhausting early intervention and positive behaviour management strategies," she said.

The committee also recommended publishing quartley suspension and exclusion data by gender, indigenous status, racial minority, children and young people with a disability and children and young people in the child protection system.

In a submission to the committee, Gympie West State School principal Bob Cole said you only ever get what you pay for.

"If we keep trying to tackle this issue with pieces of paper because it is the cheapest solution, our schools will pay a much bigger price in the long run," he said.

"The best solution is to supply staff to schools (not regions) for behaviour management purposes and let the schools decide how to use them."

Minister for Education John-Paul Langbroek is considering the committee's recommendations.

Alert: Storms, heatwaves and falling bats

Premium Content Alert: Storms, heatwaves and falling bats

Storms, heatwaves and falling bats predicted

’I told them this would happen’: Ex-cop’s fire prediction

Premium Content ’I told them this would happen’: Ex-cop’s fire prediction

The department has responded to claims the cessation of logging contributed to the...

‘Scumbags’: Woodford jail’s most notorious inmates

Premium Content ‘Scumbags’: Woodford jail’s most notorious inmates

Woodford Correctional Centre’s most notorious inmates