Should schools know about students' criminal records?

Writing in the Sydney Morning Herald, Natassia Chrysanthos and Jordan Baker examine calls from the father of a rape victim for a confidential database, which would record details of students charged with rape, sexual harassment or intimidation, so principals could be notified if they needed to keep an eye on particular students.  

The story quotes former NSW Council for Civil Liberties president Nicholas Cowdery, who said the non-publication principles that guided police and the Children’s Court also applied to the school system.

“The department and schools would have no way of getting that information unless it were volunteered,” he said.

Mr Cowdery said a balance was required. “Whenever that applies there will be differing views about where the balance should be struck. The law leans heavily towards the privacy of children and their welfare [and] therapy,” he said.

“The question arises at a practical level: if the department or schools had such information, what would they do with it? My view is that if such offenders have been dealt with it should be left to the police and courts to put in place the best regimes for dealing with future risk.”

More information - read the full story: Up to 5000 NSW students are convicted of a crime every year. The schools are never told