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The law on ... Banning parents

Basic issues

If parents are aggressive, violent or create severe disruption in a school, then measures can be taken to prevent these individuals from entering school premises.

The Education Act of 1996 says that it is an offence for a trespasser on school premises to cause a nuisance or disturbance. The school is entitled to withdraw the implied right a parent has to enter the school if that parent is violent or aggressive. If the parent then enters the premises, they are in breach of the law, and they can be prosecuted in the criminal courts. The penalty is a fine of up to pound;500.

Who is responsible

It's up to the local education authority to take a proactive role in ensuring that the health and safety of staff at their schools is adequately protected. There should be no hesitation in involving the police if it is necessary to do so.

In voluntary aided and foundation schools, the governing body will have the same powers as the local education authority to protect staff from unruly parental behaviour. Posters should be displayed on school premises informing parents that violent, aggressive or threatening behaviour will not be tolerated. Policies should be made clear to staff to ensure they understand how to deal with a threatening incident.

What to watch out for

It is important to keep clear and concise statements of incidents that occur in the school and are caused by the parents' behaviour.

Remember that this evidence may be used in court in the event of a criminal prosecution of the parents, andor in any appeal brought by the parents to challenge the decision to ban them.

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