Expelled boy’s champions should avoid pleading special needs while trying to get him back to school

Alf wishes good luck to the school that is going to court to fight to keep a child with Asperger’s “out of the classroom”.

He is not too sure, however, that the school’s aims have been accurately reported by the Herald on Sunday.

The school authorities probably are hoping to keep the child (if that’s the right word) out of their  classrooms and not necessarily out of all classrooms.

The student in question did get involved in a scuffle with a teacher, after all, and the school board should have the welfare of teachers in mind as well as that of the kids.

But inevitably outfits like the Human Rights Commission will have other ideas and it seems we have appointed some bloke to be a Disabilities Commissioner at some time and he wants a slice of the judicial action too.

We can be sure he doesn’t much intend to ensure teachers aren’t mauled by the brats in their charge if the brats suffer from any form of disability .

Alf got his information here: 

Green Bay High School will try to overturn a 2014 judicial review that said the boy – who was expelled after scuffling with a teacher over a skateboard – should be allowed to return to class.

The landmark hearing in Wellington has implications for schools up and down New Zealand, as it pits the rights of schools to prevent disruption in the classroom against a child’s right to an education.

The Human Rights Commission, advocacy group IHC, and Crown Law have each successfully applied to join the court action.

The Disabilities Commissioner, Paul Gibson, said it too had become involved because access to education was a fundamental human right.

“This case raises the legal issue of the obligation for New Zealand schools to reasonably accommodate the needs of students with disabilities,” he said.

The HoS reminds us that the boy in this case was 14 when he was expelled from Green Bay High School in 2013.

He will be older and bigger now, obviously.

Principal Morag Hutchison would not tell the HoS why the school wants the boy to remain barred.

A fellow acting for the boy was more helpful.

Jen Puah from Aotearoa Youth Law – who is representing the schoolboy in the court action – said the teen wanted to return to the West Auckland school.

But the school had made it “extremely difficult” for that to happen.

Puah said the case reflected a large number of schoolchildren slipping through the cracks, partly because schools were dealing with stretched finances and were unable to meet all the needs of students with behavioural issues.

Indeed, students with behavioural issues do tend to impose a burden on school budgets.

The question is whether this boy should be stretching this school’s budget after doing what he did two years ago.

There are lots of do-gooders out there who don’t grasp this.

For example…

IHC director of advocacy Trish Grant hoped the case would lead to stronger legislative protection for students with disabilities.

Students with disabilities had the same right as their non-disabled peers to be enrolled and receive an education, but she said there wasn’t a law that protected them from being rejected through disciplinary or enrolment processes, or restrictions placed on the time they’re at school.

“We know there’s not enough clarity about what is reasonable accommodation,” she said.

“When we look at what happened from when he began to when he exited, we see patterns that are replicated with other young people.”

But this overlooks the idea that being treated no differently than other children means you will be kicked out of school for misbehaving, as happens to them.

The school in question has other good reasons for being wary of allowing this boy back to its classrooms.

Very strange things can happen to school principals in a modern society with strong leanings to political correctness.

Take a look at what happened in the case of the British school principal who ended up in court charged with ‘hate crime’.

She used an expression which somebody else found ‘inappropriate’.

Headteacher Janet Felkin has just had to endure a six-month ‘disability hate crime’ investigation at the hands of the local council, the Department for Education and the ever-vigilant Sussex Police.

Her ‘offence’ was to describe an autistic pupil as having ‘special needs’. What’s wrong with that? It’s widely used official shorthand for children with special educational needs.

The Department for Education has legions of officials working on behalf of those with special needs. Sussex Police itself last month gave a £500 donation to a charity which ‘provides support for those with special needs’.

But why let the facts get in the way of a good witch-hunt? Under Labour’s lazily drafted, politically motivated 2003 Criminal Justice Act, the definition of a ‘hate crime’ is: ‘Any incident . . . which is perceived by the victim or any other person (my italics) as being motivated by prejudice or hate.’

So it doesn’t matter whether a crime has actually been committed — just so long as someone claims to be offended, the police will fire up the Quattro.

In this case, the complaint was made by the father of the child in question.

And guess what? He also happens to be a parent-governor at Miss Felkin’s school, Blatchington Mill Secondary, in Hove.

Colleagues say this particular individual — whom we can’t name without identifying his blameless child — appears to have a vendetta against Miss Felkin, and has filed a string of vexatious complaints against her over the past four years.

He reported her ‘special needs’ comments to Brighton and Hove City Council’s Partnership Community Safety Team. (Don’t you just love the Orwellian titles these jumped-up council commissars give themselves?)

But instead of telling him to get stuffed, the council began a full-scale investigation, which eventually involved the DfE and the Old Bill, who are determined to stamp out ‘hate’, even where it doesn’t exist.

A Sussex Police spokesman confirmed that Miss Felkin had been interviewed, but was anxious to stress:

‘This investigation was not into a specific person, but into a report that the term ‘special needs’ had been used at a governors’ meeting.’

Good grief.

But similar madness is brewing in this country when school authorities can’t expel miscreant students who might be inclined to plead “special needs” (an expression that would land them in big trouble in Britain).

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