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School Rules


This page explains the law about school rules at public schools in Queensland. If you have any questions about school rules at a private school, please send us a Lawmail and include the name of your school.

How can I find out what my school rules are?

Q: Hi my name is Akmal. Next year I will be going into a high school in Queensland and I’m wondering what the rules will be like there. How can I find out what my school rules are?

A:Hi Akmal. A school’s rules must be made available for students and parents to read. You may be able to look at them on your school’s website or you can ask the principal or school office for a copy. They are also normally given out in a handbook when you start school.

All schools in Queensland are required to have a Responsible Behaviour Plan that describes how they create a positive environment and deal with behaviour management. Your parents will be given an enrolment agreement to sign when they enrol you at a public school. A part of this agreement includes the requirement to abide by The Code of School Behaviour . You will be given a copy of this at enrolment however you should also be able to get a copy of this from your school or principal.

Rules can be added to or changed by the school. Any changes should be announced at school assemblies, on notice boards, in class or in school newsletters after they have been discussed with the wider school community. Any rules and changes to the rules will need to comply and conform with the Queensland Department of Education guidelines.

What can my school make rules about?

Q:Hi Lawstuff, my name is Heather and I have a question about my school rules. The other day a teacher at my school gave me a detention for not wearing my blazer on my way home. Can my school make rules about things like this? I attend school in Queensland.

A: Hi Heather. As a general rule schools cannot control what students do outside school hours and outside the school grounds. However, a school can make rules about what students do while they are in or near school grounds during school hours and immediately before and after school. The Queensland Department of Education guidelines say that students are generally meant to wear their full school uniform while travelling to and from school.

Your school can make rules and policies about a number of things and how they will be dealt with. The rules must be fair and must apply to all students. The rules must not discriminate against one group of students in favour of another group. The school can make rules on things like:

  • when you can use your mobile phone and other technology on school grounds;
  • how you use social media;
  • how much homework you need to do;
  • bullying and cyberbullying;
  • uniforms;
  • attendance;
  • travelling to and from school; and
  • how you must behave in the classroom and playground.

If a rule is unfair or I think I’ve been treated unfairly how can I challenge the school rules?

Q: Hi, my name is Alyce. My school in Queensland has a rule that girls aren’t allowed to wear pants unless we have sport. I got in trouble the other day for wearing pants, even though the weather was so cold. I think it is unfair because I don’t like wearing dresses, especially in winter. What can I do if I feel like I am being treated unfairly?

A: Hi Alyce. Your school rules should be fair, reasonable and free from discrimination. Your school needs to explain why they are punishing you, and they need to give you the opportunity to complain if you think it is unfair.

There are some steps you can take if you think a school rule is unfair:

  • Get a copy of the school rules from the school office or principal
  • Talk with your friends and fellow students and see if they agree with you that a particular rule or policy is unfair and should be changed
  • Think through some reasons why you think the rule is unfair or should be changed, and write down these reasons
  • Talk to your teacher or principal about what you consider to be unjust or unfair. You can also ask a parent or guardian to come with you to this meeting if you like.

If you are not happy with the outcome of the meeting, you may want to make a complaint to the Department of Education and then to the Queensland Ombudsman. This can be a complicated process and you may want to send us a Lawmail so we can help you and give you some advice on the best way to solve the problem.

If you have a question about school rules that we haven’t answered here please send us a Lawmail.

The page was last reviewed 13 March 2015.

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