A Tasmanian high school is making headlines today for their new policy of suspending students who are just five minutes late to class!

Sorell High School advised parents that students will be suspended for a day if they are more than five minutes late to class.

The new rule will also see students suspended for one day if they are out of class without a pass and do not “follow a reasonable request or instruction after one reminder”.

The Mercury reported that multiple students were suspended on Wednesday after the measures came into effect.

Education department does not support this new policy

The Education Department on Thursday night confirmed a number of Sorell School students had received one-day suspensions this week.

“The department’s Respectful Students policy does not support the sanction of suspension for late arrival to school,” a statement said.

“When responding to unacceptable behaviour schools are encouraged to use restorative practices.

“The department, through Learning Services, is currently working with staff and parents to address this particular issue.”

In a letter dated March 12 addressed to families of Grade 6 to 12 students, Principal Andy Bennett acknowledged the consequences the new measures could have and asked parents for their support.

“We understand that these consequences may impact parents and carers who may be asked to collect children from school if suspended,” he said.

“We hope our students consider this inconvenience when making choices about behaviour at school.

“We believe that all students are responsible for behaving in ways that do not interfere with the rights of other students to learn and for teachers to teach — hence this letter and my request for your support.”

Mr Bennett said “by and large” students followed the rules successfully without the need for reminders and consequences.

The letter said the school needed to “make clear the consequences of not meeting expectations.”

Public outcry

The news has certainly sparked some discussion in the media, even Sunrise discussed it on air this morning saying how ridiculous it sounded.

Parents have said the classrooms will all be empty as all the students will embrace getting a day off school!

Due to public backlash the school has been forced to backflip on their suspension plan.

Share your comments below

  • Suspension due to needing medication? Bit over the top. Not surprised it didn’t stick.


  • I did have a giggle at this making the headlines. I think they reversed their decision after they got slammed publicly


  • As a one off it’s crazy! However where I work kids are 20-30 minutes late many times per week which is just annoying for teachers trying to start the day.


  • This seems pretty extreme – and may not punish the person responsible.


  • The person who takes the pupils to school should be asked the reason that they are late. e.g. their car might not have started and the owner had to call Road Service, the bus may have been late or not come at all, the alarm legitimately not worked, somebody in the family ill – you are bound to be late if you’ve had to go to hospital. If your child was dropped off at school in plenty of time ask them why they didn’t go into class on time. If they have a laptop they may mucking about on it and not watching the time. I know one child who has one for school (compuslory) and she frequently does that during the morning break.


  • Clearly someone who isn’t it touch with reality there. Perhaps they should suspend them?


  • Tad extreme!! Give the kids detentions or extra work


  • I understand wanting students at school on time. Just imagine if everyone rocked up late. But suspension seems a little extreme.


  • If someone is constantly late, I could understand this policy, but if it happens because of an emergency the rules should be very different.

    • I agree you need context and flexibility with the policy.


  • There are some weeks where this policy would mean my daughter would never be allowed at school. With an 8 year old and an 18 month old, full time work and not a lot of support give me 5 minutes please


  • There needs to be consequences for being continually late but one off shouldn’t be punished. School does need to prepare you for the outside world and you can’t be late to work every day.


  • There’s a big sign on the freeway near here “better late than dead”. Meaning, don’t rush or you could put people in serious danger. And does it seem counterintuitive to anyone else to punish children for missing 5 minutes of school by making them miss a whole day?


  • I was late on a few occasions mostly not my fault. Traffic, school Tram not running or just late or Dad was on a conference call and that came first on occasion. Our headmistress would stalk any kids late and blast them. So one day Dad waited for her….. she never did that again.. at least not to us kids. Dad ran a very busy business employed many people and he was kind and sympathetic to peoples day to day worries. Kids have no say sometimes and to treat them like this is setting them up to hate school… like I did! It would be best for the school to call the parents and have a discussion as to what is the problem. A one off here and there or something else going on. There are so many disruptions in a day in a classroom kids coming in late can catch up. Just need everyone to take a chill pill! Treat the kids as if they matter and your teacher should still greet you when you come into the room, it works both ways. Kids need to have a voice tell the teacher why they are late or not … if it’s going to cause class gossip. We all have our reasons!


  • It is disruptive to classes if students are late, but ultimately they are only hurting themselves by being late. This punishment is way over the top.


  • It is quite harsh on my opinion!


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