Bullied pupils may sue, Blunkett told

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The Independent Online

Schools must have the right to expel pupils for serious bullying or racial harassment or they will risk being sued for millions of pounds under the Human Rights Act, headteachers say today.

Schools must have the right to expel pupils for serious bullying or racial harassment or they will risk being sued for millions of pounds under the Human Rights Act, headteachers say today.

Last week, the Government announced pupils expelled for serious violence, drug dealing and sex abuse would not be able to return to school on appeal.

But the National Association of Head Teachers is writing to David Blunkett, the Secretary of State for Education, to point out that heads may be sued for failing to deal with bullying that could constitute "degrading treatment" under the Human Rights Act, which comes into force on 2 October.

After taking legal advice, the association said heads "may well have a duty to take action to prevent a violation of human rights by protecting individuals from violence or bullying". Excluded pupils should not be reinstated by appeals panels if their return to school was likely to lead to degrading treatment for another pupil.

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