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‘Red-neck legislation’ targets kids with records - lawyer

"ILL-CONCEIVED" changes to education laws are an "extremist red-neck reaction" which will hurt school kids on criminal charges.

A top Rockhampton lawyer has delivered a scathing verdict on proposed changes to the Queensland Education and Other Legislation Amendment Bill.

Schools can already suspend students charged with offences, but they have to rely on the honesty of family and friends in bringing the alleged crimes to light.

The proposed amendments will give chief executives the power to gather information about charges and convictions from the police.

Legal, school and government bodies will have their say during the Education and Innovation Committee hearing today.

Doug Winning said the amendment "tortures every principal of legal thinking relative to rehabilitating young offenders".

"God almighty - this is typical extremist red-neck Queensland legislation which is not properly though out," said Mr Winning, who has represented defendants from Rockhampton, Gladstone and Bundaberg.

"It's ill-conceived."

Queensland Secondary Principals' Association Andrew Pierpoint defended the move, saying it was aimed at protecting other students and teachers.

Mr Pierpoint said the amendment would make it easier for principals to get background information.

He said schools had to put safety first.

"...the principal is the responsible officer so he or she needs to know what he or she has before him or her in the school so if there is a student with a criminal history or violent history then it behoves the principal to know that information so that he or she can put programs and structures in place to protect everybody including the kid who's got it," he said.

Mr Pierpoint said banned students would be supported outside the school gates.

The Education and Innovation Committee will report back to the Legislative Assembly on October 20.

Topics:  doug winning, education, juveniles, legislation




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