SPECIAL school in Ireland starts legal action to permanently exclude Autistic child with behavioural issues
Stepping Stones Special School in County Meath in Ireland has launched legal action to prevent the return to school of a 15-year-old boy with Autism due to “serious breaches” in behaviour which they claim has put both students and staff at risk. The school, which caters for children with complex needs, said that the child was expelled in November 2020 but that the lockdown restrictions have exacerbated his behavioural challenges.
For its case, the school reported a number of serious incidents where the boy, who is non-verbal and has been diagnosed with a moderate to severe intellectual disability, had attacked staff, kicking and punching them. However, a three-person committee drafter in by the Department of Education under Section 29 of the Education Act ordered the school to prepare for the return of the child, as they considered that “reasonable efforts to allow the boy participate and benefit from education had not been fully exhausted”.
The committee pointed that the disruption caused by school closures during the coronavirus pandemic would have been a “major contributory factor” to his behaviour, and insisted that the environment could be made safe for everyone involved with additional resources. Thus it was ruled that the child should return to school as this is “vital to his wellbeing and development”.
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