A Wanaka family are at a loss what to do after their 7-year-old son was excluded from Wanaka Primary School and all other schools in the area refused to enrol him.
The family, who have asked not to be named, said yesterday their son was excluded on October 28 after throwing a folder at another pupil and a teacher.
The boy's mother said earlier incidents at the school included the boy stabbing another pupil with a pencil on his first day at the school and being suspended twice for disruptive behaviour and biting staff.
The 7-year-old told the Otago Daily Times he did not miss school. However, the teachers at his former school were the ''kindest''.
The mother said Wanaka school principal Wendy Bamford contacted the two other primary schools in the area to see if the boy could be enrolled there, but both had said no.
Holy Family Catholic School, Wanaka and Hawea Flat Primary School declined to comment when contacted yesterday.
The Ministry of Education website says exclusion is the term used for the expulsion of someone under 16 and ''requires the student to be enrolled at another school''.
The boy's stepfather said he felt as if ''all doors have been shut'' to the child.
The mother said she believed the ministry was still working with Hawea Flat School to enrol the boy there, although she had not heard from the ministry for more than a week.
In a statement yesterday, Ministry of Education head of sector enablement and support Katrina Casey said the ministry was working with schools in the area to find a solution.
''We are currently consulting with schools in the Wanaka area before any decisions are taken on the re-enrolment of [the boy] in another school. We will ensure he and the school have the support they need.''
The mother said her son could be difficult and had recently been diagnosed with attention deficit disorder.
The boy had been doing half days at the school with a teacher aide in a classroom on his own. However, cuts to funding in the first week of this term meant the teacher aide could no longer be provided.
''The teacher aide finished on the Friday and on the Monday he was suspended indefinitely. We had a meeting with the board two weeks ago and then they decided to expel him,'' she said.
''They didn't deal with him properly. We feel failed because expelling a 7-year-old is not something you hear every day. Usually, 7-year-olds are dealt with properly.''
The mother said the family were using worksheets to try to teach the boy at home. However, the pressures of other children and the financial loss of not working meant permanent home-schooling was a last resort.
Otago Primary Principals Association chairwoman Elizabeth Cleverly said she did not know the details of the case, but it was uncommon for a primary school pupil to be excluded.
''In my experience with schools, principals and boards work really hard to keep children in school and this must be a really extreme situation and it must be really stressful for everybody.''
Wanaka Primary School board of trustees chairman Andrew Howard said in a statement yesterday the board had worked with the ministry to decide how to deal with the boy.
''This was not a decision taken lightly and all proper procedures were followed throughout.
''The Ministry of Education is now consulting with us to find a satisfactory solution to provide education for the student.
''We are very keen to find a solution that ensures this child's future success,'' Mr Howard said.
In December 2008, the ODT reported the ministry required Tomahawk School to re-enrol a ''dangerous'' 7-year-old boy.
A parent said she feared for the safety of her daughter and the 11 other pupils at the school.
She said the school did everything it could to help the boy, including employing a full-time teacher aide just to look after him.
It re-enrolled the boy on the ministry's instructions and finished the year with a roll of five.
Although the boy left the school and the roll increased, in April 2010 the school closed and the ministry cited its declining roll as a reason.