Student with Asperger’s excluded from school

Auckland, New Zealand, Green Bay High School – the family of a student with Asperger’s Syndrome will be seeking a judicial review in the High Court this week over their son’s exclusion from high school.

The 3 News article states that a legal expert has said the boy has been treated unfairly and that the school’s actions are illegal as the boy’s behaviour did not meet the threshold for gross misconduct.

Beachlands School teacher Laureen McLeod has been teaching for 30 years and says she is used to balancing the demands of mainstream students and those with special needs.

The boy was excluded from the school after a struggle with a teacher over a skateboard.

Joanna Maskell YouthLaw solicitor and spokesperson for the family said:

“The board of trustees failed to take into account whether the boy’s special needs played a part in his behaviour.”

She continues to add that the boy was exuded on the grounds of misconduct but that the case doesn’t meet that threshold.

Autism NZ says that this case illustrates a wider problem in New Zealand and that educators are not trained to deal with children on the autistic spectrum.

Dane Dougan, chief executive of Autism NZ, says:

“We do need to do something, but we do truly believe that the way to do it is to educate the teachers.”

The organisation estimates that there is one child in every classroom with autism in New Zealand.

Beachlands School principal Brian Gower said:

“We’ve had over half a million dollars spent on upgrading our school to make sure accessibility issues are addressed for one child,”

He also adds that that the money schools are given for special needs is only as useful as the support they have.

The full article by Susie Nordqvist on the 3 News website can be found here