The Public Defender’s recommendation to the Minister of Education and Science
In accordance with Article 21 of the Georgian Organic Law on the Public Defender of Georgia, the Public Defender of Georgia, George Tugushi, has addressed the Minister of Education and Science of Georgia with a recommendation to study the fact that took place in the Tbilisi Public School No. 53 and to ensure that Mikheil Aleksidze’s violated right to education is restored, as well as to take measures established by the legislation to hold the relevant officials responsible.
On October 19, 2011, the Public Defender received an application of citizen Lali Lekishvili who noted that her son, Mikheil Aleksidze, had been expelled from Public School No. 53 in violation of the Georgian legislation. The Center for Women and Children’s Rights of the Public Defender’s Office immediately started to study the aforementioned application, as, according to the applicant, Mikheil Aleksidze’s right to education had been restricted since October 13, 2011.
Based on the documents relating to the case, the explanatory notes, and the information provided by the applicant which the Public Defender’s representatives have studied, the Public Defender considers that student Mikheil Aleksidze’s right to education, which is guaranteed by Article 35 of the Constitution of Georgia and Article 28 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, has been violated since October 13, 2011.
The issue of expulsion of Mikheil Aleksidze from school was discussed at a meeting of the disciplinary committee of the Tbilisi Public School No. 53 in the absence of Mikheil ALeksidze and his legal representative, and official documents fail to confirm that they had been notified that the disciplinary committee was going to hold a meeting. Accordingly, we are dealing with a violation of a right guaranteed by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Georgian legislation. It is a child’s right to be heard in any judicial and administrative proceedings affecting him or her, including in disciplinary proceedings in the education process.
The materials of the case confirm that the disciplinary prosecution was not carried out in compliance with the due and just procedures; all the members of the committee declared that no evidence which would have confirmed that the student had committed a disciplinary violation were presented at the meeting except the director’s explanatory note. The explanatory notes in the case-file confirm that the director put pressure on the committee members. The decision on applying an administrative punishment against Mikheil Aleksidze was not substantiated, and the decision of the disciplinary committee on the expulsion of the student from the school can be considered disproportionate.
As the materials of the case make it clear, the order on the application of the disciplinary punishment against the 11th grade student, Mikheil Aleksidze, which was based on the decision of the committee, was issued by the director. The aforementioned order contradicts Paragraph 12 of Article 19 of the Georgian Law on General Education according to which only the disciplinary committee of a school is authorized to make a decision on a student’s expulsion from school.
It should also be noted that, according to Paragraph B of Part One of Article 60 of the General Administrative Code, the aforementioned order of the school director is a void administrative act, because it was issued by an unauthorized person.