Youth Law supports 14 year old special needs student
Youth Law supports 14 year old special needs student taking school to court for discrimination.
The student with a diagnosis of Asperger’s and dyslexia was excluded from Green Bay High by the Board of Trustees in July 2013. He has been out of school for ten months “A” who has been granted name suppression due to his age, approached YouthLaw for help and filed court proceedings as a last resort after attempting to resolve the issues directly with the school.
YouthLaw’s Senior Solicitor Jennifer Puah stated “In YouthLaw’s view the exclusion was unlawful as the Board only holds the power to exclude a student under the Education Act for behaviour which amounts to “gross misconduct or continual disobedience.
In A’s case it is clear from communications with the school that A’s special needs were the primary factor in the decision to exclude him. The incident that the school alleges amounts to gross misconduct in our view simply does not rise to the standard required to exclude which is that the conduct must be striking and reprehensible.
The incident involved a minor tussle between A and a teacher over a skateboard.
All young people whether they have special needs or not have a right to education under the Education Act.
They have a right to expect that their school will treat them fairly and consistently with the law.”
“Unfortunately says Ms Puah the case of “A” is indicative of a large proportion of Youthlaw’s vulnerable client base of moderate special needs students that are slipping “between the cracks” as such students are do not meet the threshold for high needs funding yet do have special needs that are not always accommodated within school bulk funding SEG grants.”
YouthLaw instructed barrister Simon Judd to act on behalf of “A” and file judicial review proceedings against Green Bay High School. A High Court Judge is due to consider the case on 19th February 2014 and will decide whether Green Bay High School’s Board of Trustees acted illegally by excluding “A”.