Monitoring compliance with and enforcing school community safety orders
This chapter describes the arrangements authorised persons must make to monitor compliance with a school community safety order (order) while it is in place.
Principals must report all instances where a person fails to comply with an order through eduSafe Plus. Reporting such instances will enable the school to make an informed decision about whether to take enforcement action and can be referred to as evidence if the school decides to pursue enforcement action through the Magistrates’ Court.
Procedure for monitoring compliance with and enforcing orders
1. Authorised persons must identify staff who should be made aware of the order to monitor compliance
The number and identity of school staff who an order should be disclosed to will depend on the nature and effect of the order. As orders contain personal information, authorised persons must follow the department’s Schools’ Privacy and only share the existence and terms of the order with staff members who need to be made aware of an order for the purpose of monitoring compliance.
Staff members who have become aware of an order should not disclose that information to other staff members or members of the school community unless it is related to monitoring or enforcing the order.
For example, where an order prohibits a parent/carer of a student from entering or remaining on school-related places, the authorised person should consider who to inform. For example the following staff members:
- the principal and assistant principals
- the student’s classroom teacher
- front of house administrative staff who greet visitors who enter school grounds
- any teachers who are scheduled to be on yard duty (particularly during drop-off and pick-up periods) during the period of the order
- any teacher who is in charge or supervising students at a school a school-related place off school grounds where an activity is being conducted by or in connection with the school.
Where an ongoing order prohibits a person from approaching or communicating with a particular staff member, the order may only need to be disclosed to that staff member, who should be instructed to inform the authorised person of any breach.
If an ongoing order prohibits a person from using or communicating on a school communication platform, the order may only need to be disclosed to staff who have been identified to monitor the relevant communications platform.
2. Inform the principal of an actual or suspected breach immediately
Identified staff who are aware of an order should notify the principal as soon as practicable if they have witnessed a breach (including a suspected breach).
Such staff should also notify the principal if they observe the person subject to an order taking any actions that the order specifies as something that may be the considered in revoking or amending the order.
3. Where possible, inform the person that they have breached the order
Where safe and appropriate to do so, the person should be told that they have breached an order and given the opportunity to respond or explain their behaviour.
This is important to confirm whether the behaviour was in fact a breach and avoid reporting a breach incorrectly or without context, such as where:
- there is a misunderstanding about whether the person has actually breached the order (for example, a person reports that a parent has breached an order by entering school grounds for school pick up and drop off when this is not an activity that is prohibited in the order)
- a person breaches an order due to an emergency or critical situation that may explain or justify the breach (for example, where a parent contravenes an order that prohibits them entering school grounds by dropping off their child at school because the alternative access arrangements, such as the usual school bus, was not accessible on that particular day).
4. Report the breach on eduSafe Plus
Once the principal reasonably believes that a breach has occurred, they must report this on eduSafe Plus by updating the related school community safety order report and creating an incident report. More information is contained in Reporting an order.
Legal Division will then contact the principal to provide advice on taking appropriate action in response to the breach. The appropriate course of action the school should take in response to a breach may depend on a number of factors, such as whether there are more appropriate actions available to the school to deal with the breach than seeking approval from the Deputy Secretary, Schools and Regional Services to initiate enforcement proceedings in the Magistrate’s Court.
Contacting police in response to a breach
Schools should only contact Victoria Police when there is an immediate risk of harm or when they reasonably suspect that a criminal offence has been committed. For example, because a breach involves some element of criminality, including violence or threats of violence.
Reviewed 10 July 2022