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Disciplinary Hearings/Tribunals

Disciplinary Hearings


1.    Preamble


1.1    Section 8 (4) of the South African Schools Act provides that all learners attending a school are bound by the Code of Conduct of the school. All learners are expected to sign a statement of commitment to the Code of Conduct.

1.2    The administration of the Code of Conduct is the responsibility of the Disciplinary Committee of the school.


2.    Disciplinary Hearings


2.1    Written notice of a disciplinary hearing will be given at least five (5) school days before the hearing is scheduled to take place, which could imply temporary suspension from classes, excluding formal scheduled tests and examinations which count towards the learner’s year mark.
2.2    When notice is issued to the learner the learner must acknowledge receipt of the notice by signing for it. This is not an admission of guilt on the part of the learner.
2.3    If a learner does not appear at a hearing, the hearing will be conducted in his/her absence.
2.4    A written verdict of the hearing will be issued to the offender. The offender must acknowledge the content by signing the document.
2.5    A learner has the right to request a review of the disciplinary action taken against him/her if sufficient grounds exist. Disregard of punishment of the Disciplinary Committee will lead to temporary suspension pending a hearing.
2.6    The hearing will also be attended by the learner, and any other learner he/she may need for his/her defence.

2.7    The Disciplinary Committee will consist of the following members:


2.7.1    The Governing Body Chairperson
2.7.2    Two (2) parent representatives from the Governing Body
2.7.3    The school Principal or Discipline Officer delegated to oversee this function
2.7.4    The Grade Head

2.8    The Principal/Discipline Officer will keep on record copies of all documentation relating to the offence, the conducting and findings of the hearing, and the disciplinary measures imposed.
2.9    The Principal/Discipline Officer will furnish the Grade Head and register teacher with all the information necessary for their records.

3.    Procedure during Disciplinary Hearings


3.1    The Chairperson of The Committee must lead the proceedings and introduce those present and state their functions and ensure that witnesses are present only while giving their evidence.

 

3.2    The Chairperson must inform the learner of his/her rights:


3.2.1    The right to a formal hearing
3.2.2    The right to be present at the hearing
3.2.3    The right to be given time to prepare for the hearing case
3.2.4    The right to be given advance notice of the charges against him/her
3.2.5    The right to be represented at the hearing by one (1) internal representative
3.2.6    The right to be accompanied at the hearing by parents/guardian if the learner is a minor
3.2.7    The right to ask questions on any evidence produced, or on statements of witnesses
3.2.8    The right to call witnesses to testify on his/her behalf
3.2.9    The right to an interpreter, to be requested 24 hours prior to the hearing
3.2.10    The right to appeal within five (5) days against any penalty imposed by the Disciplinary Committee
3.2.11    If the learner does not attend, the hearing will continue in his/her absence
3.3    The Chairperson is to explain the nature of the alleged breach or misconduct to those present at the Disciplinary Hearing.
3.4    The procedure of the enquiry is to be explained by The Chairperson. The evidence of the complainant and his/her witnesses will be heard first. The learner and panel may ask questions about the evidence. The learner and his/her witness may then give evidence and the complainant and Committee may ask them questions.
3.5    When all the evidence ahs been heard, The Chairperson must close the enquiry, dismiss the complainant, the accused, their representatives, the parent/guardian and all witnesses.
3.6    The Disciplinary Committee must discuss and weigh the evidence and come to a decision.
3.7    The Chairperson must reconvene all interested parties.
3.8    The Chairperson is to communicate the decision of The Committee.
3.9    The Chairperson must explain the decision of The Committee and the reasons for the penalty (if any) that has been imposed.
3.10    The learner must be advised of his/her right to appeal the decision.
3.11    The complainant and the learner must sign the disciplinary form and a copy must be handed to the learner. If the learner refuses to sign, a witness must sign in the presence of the learner.
3.12    The signing of the document by the learner does not imply an acknowledgement of guilt.

4.    Disciplinary Action


4.1    No action on a verdict from the Committee of ‘not guilty’
4.2    A suspension from school for a minimum of two (2) school days.
4.3    A suspension from school for a maximum of five (5) school days.
4.4    Recommendation for expulsion from school to the Head of Education.
4.5    Alternative, corrective action depending on the severity of the charges against the learner.