The first in this year’s series of Australia New Zealand Education Law Association seminars around the country was held at our offices on 24 July. The seminar was attended by members from several different parts of the education law sector. The session was chaired by Virginia Goldblatt of the Massey University Dispute Resolution Service. The presenters were Emmett Geoghegan Senior Solicitor Ministry of Education and Alan Knowsley (ANZELA Board Member and Immediate Past President).

There were in attendance a principal, a Deputy Principal, an Associate Principal,  lawyers in private practice,  members of the Teachers Council Disciplinary team and the Police.

Much of the discussion centred around the lessons to be learned from the recent Hair Cut case. The school rule that was too uncertain to be lawful, the failure to actually apply the rule, the failure to get the suspension process right by the Principal and Board, the disciplining of others involved in the dispute etc

Also discussed were the opportunities to resolve these disputes by alternative processes like mediation or negotiation.

Hand outs were provided on student and staff discipline, dispute resolution processes, Ombudsman’s Guide to handling unreasonable complainants, guidelines for the surrender and retention of property and searches, bullying prevention and response and good decision making processes.

Further seminars in the series will be held in Tauranga and Auckland with one also being planned for Christchurch. Please contact Alan Knowsley if you would like more information.