Can I appeal a suspension?

2. Consider if you want to appeal

Suspensions are recorded in your Ontario Student Record (OSR). Teachers and school administrators who see a suspension in your OSR may treat you differently. If you already have one suspension in your OSR, the next time you get in trouble you may get a longer suspension.

Missing school because of a suspension can make it harder to keep up with your school work. You will also miss out on school activities, including sports or extra-curricular activities.

Think about these questions when you consider appealing:

  • Did the principal consider all the factors described below?
  • Did the principal use progressive discipline?
  • Will the suspension record affect your future plans?

The relevant factors

Even if the principal thinks you should be suspended, they must first consider:

  • your age
  • your history
  • whether you were harassed or bullied
  • how the suspension will affect your education
  • whether you being at school puts anyone at risk

The principal must also consider any physical or mental circumstances that affected your behaviour, such as:

  • whether you can control your behaviour
  • whether you can understand how your behaviour affects others
  • whether the school has tried to accommodate any special needs you have
  • whether the suspension will make your behaviour better or worse

You can appeal the principal’s decision if they do not consider these factors or if you think their decision is unreasonable.

The principal cannot discriminate against you because of who you are. If you have experienced discrimination, you can appeal the suspension and also complain to the Human Rights Tribunal.

Progressive discipline

All schools in Ontario must use “progressive discipline”. Progressive discipline means that if a student keeps repeating inappropriate behaviour, then the level of discipline should gradually increase. For example, if a student gets a detention for bullying but they continue bullying, then the principal may consider suspending the student. The goal of progressive discipline is to help a student improve their behaviour, keeping in mind that each student and situation is different.

The principal should try other discipline methods before they suspend you. They should also see if there are supports you need to learn from the incident so that you’re less likely to do it again.  But if they think that suspension is the best decision, it should be as short as possible.

You can appeal the suspension if your principal has not appropriately used progressive discipline.

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