School backs the exclusion of boy with Aspergers Syndrome

Green Bay High School, Auckland – a 14 year old boy with Aspergers Syndrome was suspended from school following a dispute over a skateboard. Autism Daily Newscast reported on the story here. The incident happened on July 5.

The family of Pupil A sought a judicial review at the High Court in Auckland and the judge quashed the school’s decision.

Pupil A’s lawyer, Joanna Maskell, said Justice John Faire had made some valuable comments.

“It was quite clear that the school had acted illegally when suspending and excluding this young person,

“They didn’t take into account his special needs and the effect that had on the behaviour, which led to that disciplinary action.”

Justice Faire wants the school and family to work together so that the child can return to his studies.

The article on the News 3 website states that Justice Faire said in his decision.

“[He was] no ordinary student who has decided to test the boundaries to see how he might deliberately test a teacher’s patience, whether to obtain peer accolade or for some other reason,

“‘A’ is a student with a significant disability, which at times manifests itself in behavioural problems, which include an inability to react when placed in a confrontational position. How he should be handled when placed in such a situation clearly required skill.”

English teacher Greig Cowan asked Pupil A to leave his skateboard at the front of the classroom and pick it up after class. However he went and got the skateboard 10 minutes laterĀ and started using it outside the classroom.

When asked to stop the judge said the Pupil A then started to yell obscenities at Mr Cowan and another teacher.

Justice Faire said:

“The incident does appear to have been escalated by the teacher deciding to pursue ‘A’ and requiring him to give up his skateboard,”

Principal Morag Hutchinson made the decision to suspend the pupil.

A school spokeswoman said Ms Hutchinson and the board would release a statement about the decision “in due course”.

The original article on the 3 news website can be found here