This education minister just attacked private schools that expel students. Does he have a point?

Should private schools be able to expel kids?

It’s just been revealed that several Year 8 students at an elite Sydney private school were expelled for carrying drugs.

Apparently, eight boys were asked to leave Trinity Grammar after an incident involving cannabis on the school ground.

In the wake of the news, questions have been raised as to whether private schools – such as the one in question – should have the right to expel students.

NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli MP doesn’t think so, as he made clear in scathing remarks published in Fairfax’s Sydney Morning Herald today.

Arguing that private schools shouldn’t prioritise their reputations over their moral obligation to help students, Mr Piccoli told the SMH:

”Every school has a responsibility to address the behaviour of their students whether it is a $30,000 school or a government school…

Just paying $30,000 doesn’t give you the moral authority to say I don’t want to deal with these kids… these are faith-based schools, and based on the faith I have, shifting the problem to another school is not the answer.”

Mr Piccoli said the community expected any school receiving public funding to ”manage students properly”.

”I think (independent schools) have an obligation to not simply find a student’s behaviour unacceptable and just kick them out and allow it to become another school’s problem,” he said.

Currently, students can be expelled from government schools too but, Mr Piccoli said, that approach is always the last resort following a period of suspension, counselling and extensive discussions with parents.

Adrian Piccoli.

Public schools can expel kids and they do, but they can’t just boot them out the door and let it become someone else’s problem,” Mr Piccoli said.

Last year, two students at the prestigious Melbourne private school Marcellin College were expelled after alleged drug trafficking of methamphetamine in the school grounds, while three Year 8 boys agreed to leave the exclusive Cranbrook School in Sydney after a sexual incident involving a 14-year-old girl at “a gathering”.

In 2011, Cranbrook also expelled four 14-year-old boys for drug dealing.

Do you think private schools should be able to expel kids? Or are they shirking their responsibilites by doing so?