Rebecca Quilliam

Rebecca Quilliam is senior reporter at the APNZ News Service office in Wellington.

Hope high to get boy back into school

Family keen for Asperger's teen to resume studies at Green Bay after High Court judge quashes decision to eject him.

Lawyer Simon Judd said the family wanted their son to return to mainstream education because they believed it was in his best interests. Photo / Bradley Ambrose
Lawyer Simon Judd said the family wanted their son to return to mainstream education because they believed it was in his best interests. Photo / Bradley Ambrose

The family of an Asperger's child who was excluded from his high school after a dispute with a teacher hope he will be able to return to the school.

A judge yesterday quashed the decision of Green Bay High School principal Morag Hutchinson to expel the 14-year-old, clearing the way for the boy - known only as pupil "A" - to return to the school.

The boy's family sought a High Court judicial review after he was expelled last July following an argument with a teacher over a skateboard he'd been riding in class time.

The family's lawyer, Simon Judd, last night told the Herald that the boy was still enrolled at Green Bay and the family wanted him to resume his schooling there. He is currently attending an alternative education establishment.

"I think the intention is to return there when it's appropriate."

Mr Judd said the family wanted their son to return to mainstream education because they believed it was in his best interests.

When he would return was unclear, he said, but the boy's mother was "happy" with the result.

The family said the boy's behaviour during the incident did not amount to gross misconduct, and the school had used the incident as an excuse to remove him from its care.

Green Bay High said it was "disappointed in the outcome", but was expected to comment further today.

In his decision, Justice John Faire said the student 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.

"The incident does appear to have been escalated by the teacher deciding to pursue 'A' and requiring him to give up his skateboard," the judge said.

Justice Faire said he hoped the boy's parents and the school continued to work co-operatively to ensure the student could complete his education.

YouthLaw, which represented the boy's family, said the court clearly found that the school acted illegally when suspending and excluding the pupil and should have taken into account his special needs and recommendations made by his psychologist about managing his behaviour when making those decisions.

"We just hope that our client can be supported to return to mainstream education."

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n2 at 21 Aug 2014 23:48:43 Processing Time: 347ms