Court fight over ousting of pupil with Asperger's

Family do battle after high school boots out boy for skateboard row with teacher.

Ateenage boy who suffers from Asperger's and dyslexia may receive one-on-one tutoring, as his family prepares for a court battle over his exclusion from a high school.

The family, whose names have been suppressed to protect the teenager, are seeking a judicial review into the exclusion decision by the board of trustees at Green Bay High School in Auckland 10 months ago.

They believe the disciplinary action against their son - who had to stay at home with his mother for several months - was unjustified.

"The incident in question was a tussle between himself and a teacher over a skateboard," said YouthLaw spokeswoman Joanna Maskell. "That's not enough to be gross misconduct and it shouldn't have been something he was excluded for, particularly in light of his special needs."

The Community Law Centre is representing the family with barrister Simon Judd.

"He's at home, and mum is obviously not able to work because she's had to look after him," Mrs Maskell said. Taking the case to court had been a last resort for the family.

Green Bay High chairman Norm Wallace said the school stood by its decision.

"The best interests of the child were given the highest priority and we believe it was a sound decision and the right decision."

In accordance with the Education Act, Green Bay had tried to find a new school for the student. This had been unsuccessful and the case was then referred to the Education Ministry.

No further comment would be made until the outcome of the judicial review tomorrow in the High Court at Auckland.

The Education Ministry's head of sector enablement and support, Katrina Casey, said staff had been working closely with the teen and his family.

"One of our staff met with the young man's family on the day he was excluded from Green Bay High School to begin work on a solution.

"He was enrolled at another school on October 16 and attended for the rest of the year. Our view was that placement was not going to work longer term, so we've come up with a new package for this school year," Ms Casey said.

Options included one-on-one tutoring. "This new package, which we understand his family is happy with, is in the final stages of approval."

- APNZ

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