High school appeals ruling over student with Asperger's

Photo / Bradley Ambrose
Photo / Bradley Ambrose

An Auckland high school which excluded a student with Asperger's after a dispute with a teacher is appealing against a judge's ruling to quash the expulsion.

Green Bay High School principal Morag Hutchinson expelled the 14-year-old boy, known only as pupil A, in July last year. It followed an argument with a teacher over a skateboard he had been riding in class time.

The boy's family sought a High Court judicial review against the school's decision.

Last month, Justice John Faire quashed the decision, paving the way for the boy to resume his schooling at Green Bay, where he is still enrolled.

The boy is currently attending an alternative education establishment.

Green Bay High School board of trustees chairman Norman Wallace today said the school had sought leave to appeal the High Court decision in the Court of Appeal.

"The board is mindful that this case raises wider issues which are relevant to all New Zealand schools, however given the appeal process it is not appropriate for us to be making any further comment.''

Mr Wallace said that despite the appeal, senior staff at the school would still consult shortly with the family of Student A, as recommended by the High Court.

"The purpose of the consultation will be to discuss a way forward for all parties concerned. No further comment will be made in relation to this matter by the school, as is normal practice in such circumstances.''

In his decision last month, Justice Faire said Student A was not an ordinary student who had "decided to test the boundaries''.

Rather, he had a significant disability which, at times, resulted in behavioural problems including "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.''

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.

- APNZ

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