About the case

During a school trip an 18-year-old international student purchased and drank alcohol. He also gave alcohol to other underage students. In an intoxicated state, the international student tried to kiss some of the students. The minor students reported the behaviour to the school, who immediately suspended the student. After internal procedures were carried out, the student’s placement was terminated and he returned to his home country. 

The student’s father was very upset and lodged a complaint with the school. The father said the school was to blame for what happened on the school trip and that the subsequent disciplinary and termination processes were unfair towards the international student. The father felt it was the school’s lack of supervision which gave the 18-year-old student an opportunity to buy alcohol on the trip. The father claimed if the school had provided adequate supervision this would not have happened. The father wanted the school to pay compensation and apologise to the international student.

The school did not agree with the father’s view and the dispute was referred to iStudent Complaints.

How we helped

Although mediation was offered to the parties, the dispute remained unresolved and the parties asked iStudent Complaints to adjudicate the dispute. The adjudication was done on the papers, meaning information and submissions from both parties were provided to the adjudicator in writing. Several other issues were raised when the papers were filed.


The adjudicator partly upheld the parent’s complaint, finding there was insufficient evidence that the school had provided adequate supervision during the school trip. The adjudicator ordered the school to review its policies for supervision requirements during school trips.

The adjudicator, however, did not agree with the father’s view that the school was solely to blame for what happened. The adjudicator found that the student breached the school’s policies and procedures, and that the school was within its right to terminate the international student’s placement. The student was 18 at the time of the incident and as an adult he should bear responsibility for his actions in breaching rules that were known to him. The adjudicator concluded there was no basis for finding the school had to pay any compensation to the student.