Q: Why hasn’t the student who was charged with assaulting my daughter been expelled?
Before expelling a student, a principal must be satisfied “on a balance of probabilities” that the incident happened. In order to determine this, the principal usually conducts an investigation. However, in situations where police have become involved, all investigation by the school administration must stop as soon as charges are laid, to avoid interference with the police investigation. So in situations like these, where getting statements is almost impossible, some options for a principal include:
- proceeding with the expulsion hearing without statements (which is almost impossible without some kind of evidence),
- processing the expulsion and, at the end of the five-day window to complete the investigation, excluding the child until the investigation is complete (which is not in the spirit of the legislation and therefore problematic), or
- waiting until a proper investigation can be completed (which means waiting until the police investigation is over).
When charges are laid, there is often a bail condition which stipulates that the perpetrator cannot be within a certain distance of the victim, so he would have to be moved to another school, whether the school suspends or not. Since the perpetrator in your case has not been moved, it seems that there were no such conditions placed on him.
At this point, it is important to work closely with the school administration and possibly the superintendent to make sure that your child feels safe. It may not seem right to “punish the victim” by moving her, but if she is really struggling with seeing the perpetrator each day, then it may be in her best interest to look at other schools/programs that will help her cope, particularly if this is going to take a long time to resolve through the legal system.