Preparing for a meeting with school

If your child has been stood down, you can ask to meet the principal, or the principal may ask to meet with you. Your child can be at the meeting and you can take a support person too.

This page can help you plan before the meeting, know what to expect, questions to ask and what you can do after the meeting.

Before the meeting

  • Make arrangements at home (e.g. childcare) or at work (e.g. time off) so you can meet with the school.
  • Make sure you know why removal from school is being considered.
  • Read the school's report and note any questions you have about it.
  • Explore the reasons why the incident happened with your child and help them prepare for questions.
  • Ask someone to come with you if you want support at the meeting. This could be whānau, kaumātua, a lawyer, a social worker, an advocate or anyone you think can help.

Questions to ask at a meeting

  • Can you explain what happened from the school's perspective?
  • Did you talk to my child about what happened?
  • Have you listened to my child's concerns?
  • Have you considered by child's point of view? How?
  • How have you helped me child understand the consequences of their behaviour, and learn from it?
  • How does the disciplinary process work?
  • How can I support my child if what happened is part of a bigger problem?
  • What other support and guidance is available for my child?
  • How and when can my child return to school?
  • What is an alternative approach for behaviour management?
  • What is the school going to put in place so my child will return to school?

Restorative justice

Stand-downs, suspension, exclusion and expulsion should only be used by schools as a last resort. Schools are encouraged to take a restorative approach when incidents occur.

This is where the focus is not on punishment but on repairing harm and restoring relationships. The whole school community works together to develop rules and find ways to move forward when rules are broken.

It involves the child who caused harm, the child that was harmed, school staff, whānau, community members, and if necessary, the police. 

 The purpose of restorative justice meetings is to establish:

  • What harm was caused.
  • Why it was done.
  • The wider emotional context.
  • What is needed to put things right.
  • How the situation caused harm.

Restorative justice vs. traditional discipline

Traditional discipline

Restorative justice

  • Imposed on the child by the principal
  • Involves the child who caused harm, the child harmed, school staff, whānau, others in the community.

Key questions:

  • What happened?
  • What rule was broken?
  • Who is to blame?
  • What happened?
  • Who has been affected?
  • How can we make this right?
  • What is the punishment going to be?
  • How can we involve everyone and find a way forward?
  • How can everyone do things differently in the future?
  • Assumes punishment acts as a deterrent and changes behaviour
  • Encourages children to evaluate their behaviour and take responsibility for it
  • Doesn't consider the needs of those harmed
  • Focuses on the needs of those harmed
  • Doesn't help ongoing relationships
  • Tries to repair the ongoing relationship between those involved
  • Can be disruptive to learning
  • Recognises that successful relationships are necessary for successful learning
  • Can be a negative experience with the principal
  • Encourages positive, respectful relationships between children and teachers

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