18 Feb 2014

Ministry has plan for excluded boy

3:58 pm on 18 February 2014

The Ministry of Education is finalising an education plan for a boy with Asperger's and dyslexia who is challenging his exclusion from an Auckland secondary school in the High Court on Wednesday.

Community law service, Youth Law, is arguing that Green Bay High School was wrong to exclude the 14-year-old in July last year after a struggle with a teacher over a skateboard.

It says the incident was not serious enough to warrant exclusion and the school's board failed to consider the boy's special needs.

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The ministry says it has been working with the boy and his family since the exclusion.

It says he was enrolled at another school in October, and attended that school for the rest of last year.

That school provides horse therapy and the ministry says that placement was not going to work long-term, so it has come up with a new arrangement for this year.

It says the boy currently gets two hours a day of tutoring and two afternoons a week of work experience.

Youth Law says he should be in full-time education and hopes the judicial review on Wednesday will help to protect the rights of children with special needs.

Youth Law solicitor Joanna Maskell says the boy's case has implications for other young people.

"We say there was a failure to consider his special needs. If the court agrees with that part of the case, it could be precedent-setting for other young people with special needs who have been suspended or excluded in New Zealand."

Green Bay High School says it gave the best interests of the child the highest priority and its decision was correct.