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My Son has been excluded from school


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My son is 12 years old and was diagnosed as ADHD at 6 and further diagnosed as being Autistic Spectrum Disorder and after pushing Asperger Syndrome a few years later. He attends mainstream school who have a Unit which deals specifically with children on the Autistic Spectrum.

 

On Friday, he was excluded from school and we have a meeting on Monday to discuss his re-admitance to school.

 

He apparantly has been making comments about other kids and has been shouting out in class.

 

Now I feel that the comments he has been making are a direct result of his disability and therefore his exclusion constitutes discrimination.

 

His anual report card which we got about 2 weeks ago said he was doing well behaving in class and attaining the levels of education that should be expected. It appears that the behavioural problems are when he is not supervised and are reported by other pupils.

 

Your comments would be appreciated.

 

Woolfie

Advice & opinions given by Woolfie are my own, and are not endorsed by Consumer Action Group or Bank Action Group, and are offered informally, without prejudice & without liability. Your decisions and actions are your own, and should you be in any doubt, you are advised to seek the opinion of a qualified professional.

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It appears that the behavioural problems are when he is not supervised and are reported by other pupils.

That's interesting. So none of the staff have heard him saying what he's alleged to have said? Is this a case of him being deliberately targeted in an attempt to exclude by the other kids when there are no adults to verify what's gone on? or have I misunderstood ..

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As a teacher in a school with a number of students with Aspergers, I can confirm that most schools will still expect similar standards of behaviour from these pupils. Your son attends a mainstream school, which I assume is your choice. Although there is help available in schools, very few can supervise a child all the time for the whole day. If your son's behaviour was below the acceptable standard, then exclusion may not be unreasonable. It's hard to say without specfics obviously.

 

Exclusions such as this one usually do come as the result of one incident, so his report stating his good behaviour might stand you in good stead in terms of getting him re-admitted quickly, but not for arguing the exclusion shouldn't hasve happened.

 

As for discrimination, the school is in a tricky situation here. If they have an expected standard of behaviour and usually exclude for this type of incident, then they would be seen by most parents to be being unfair in not excluding your son. I don't really think you can claim discrimination if your child is being treated in the same way as the others at the school.

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No I dont think they have heard him directly but when i phoned last week to find out what was going on i was told that my son had been questioned for about an hour and he had finally admitted he had made inappropriate comments!!

 

Sounds like an interrigation to me!!

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I think you need to be careful of making assumptions like this, mainly because it's likely to change the way you approach the meeting with the school and may not do you any favours.

 

"Questioned for an hour" is unlikely to mean someone was actually asking questions for an hour and more likely to mean that your son was asked some questions and then left alone until he was ready to answer them.

 

Without knowing any of the specifics, you seem keen to think the worst of the school, yet from your OP you seem to have been happy with the school until this point. I wonder then why you assume the worst?

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I dont understand the rules at all. It would seem that they expect a child with very definate behavioural problems, probably more attached to his adhd than anything else to behave like a child without these problems. Is that not the equivilant of asking a child who is deaf to listen?

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I dont understand the rules at all. It would seem that they expect a child with very definate behavioural problems, probably more attached to his adhd than anything else to behave like a child without these problems. Is that not the equivilant of asking a child who is deaf to listen?

 

No, I don't think it is. Are you saying that the school should allow your son (or any child for that matter) to behave in way they want, and if it can be attributed to their difficulties say it's ok?

 

I'm not trying to be difficult, rather trying to show how the school may view it.

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Is your son statemented woolfie ? Does he have an IEP ? Does he have or need a care assistant ? Does your education department have something called a 'parent partenership ' ?( not all authorities have them )

 

Sorry for all the questions just want a clearer picture

 

I recommend PMing Bookworm as soon as she logs on as I know for sure she can point you in the right direction with this .

Please let me know how you get on with this and get all the facts before you go to the school again over it

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I suppose I am a little senstive and probably do expect the worse but past experience has taught me that the so called professionals dont have a clue about handling children with autistic spectrum related problems.

 

Expecting a child with these difficulties to behave the same as children who dont is an excellent example of this. If schools cannot cope then they shouldnt take on kids with special educational needs or should employ people with the relevant qualifications or experience.

 

I am not suggesting that any child should be allowed to behave as they please but some flexibility for children who are different has to be shown. ADHD children will say exactly what is going on in their heads so, unlike us, if they think something inappropriate they will just come right out and say it.

 

mjanet: My son has a record of needs and a classroom assistant. We have to attend a meeting at the school at 10am tomorrow to try and resolve this.

I know part of this resolution will be trying to ensure there will be no repeat of the behaviour but I dont see how we can promise this.

 

At his primary school the head of the Unit there said she had never come across a child with a mix of disability like my son before.

 

I have already pm'd bookworm and she gave me some great advice and asked if i was willing to post on open forum too.

Advice & opinions given by Woolfie are my own, and are not endorsed by Consumer Action Group or Bank Action Group, and are offered informally, without prejudice & without liability. Your decisions and actions are your own, and should you be in any doubt, you are advised to seek the opinion of a qualified professional.

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Ok, first you need to have a good read of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 Part 4, Code of Practice for Schools, New duties (from 2002) not to discriminate against disabled pupils and prospective pupils in the provision of education and associated services in schools, and in respect of admissions and exclusions.

 

HERE.

 

I don't know if it's different in Scotland, but on something like disability discrimination, I wouldn't have thought there'd be huge differences.

 

If the school is aware you son had SEN, and they exclude him for behaviour directly related to his condition, then you have extremely valid grounds to claim discrimination, IMO.

 

Would they exclude a blind child who kept on walking into doors? We all know how ridiculous that sounds. Yet, a child on the autistic spectrum can be excluded for so-called "behavioural" difficulties, even though they are just as symptomatic.

 

However, rather then going into the discrimination side of things, which might antagonise the school further, you might want to see what are the options available to you within the school. You say he has an LSA in class, maybe the school needs to make sure that this is extended to playtime and lunchtimes. The very lack of structure in the playground, as well as the additional sensory stimulation, and the complicated social rules, mean that to a child on the spectrum, time outside the classroom itself is even more of a minefield.

Do not make promises on your son's behalf that can not be kept. You can no more promise that a child on the Spectrum will "behave better" than you could promise that a child in a wheelchair will walk if he tries harder. I'm afraid the onus is firmly on the school to help prevent the behaviour emergence than trying to stop it once it has happened. A teacher that tells you otherwise is the equivalent of Mr Brian Mullen telling you why bank charges are fair and reasonable. ;)

 

A quick Google tells me a Record of Needs in Scotland is what in England is called a Statement of Special Educational Needs, which I shorten to SoN, so remember that for future reference!

:)

 

It may be that you need to call for a review of his SoN, if the help set in there is no longer appropriate to your son's needs. I also believe that you need to make the school very aware of their responsability towards their SEN children, as there is sadly a tendency for schools to choose exclusion as a way to pass the buck rather then try to tailor a solution for the child. In fairness, it is difficult for the schools with ever-shrinking SEN budgets and ever increasing clas sizes, but far too often, the child bears the brunt of it. A child has a right to an education, and it is up to the school to find a way to provide. The Code of Practice is very clear as to what constitutes "acceptable" grounds for exclusions, and I personally feel that this is nowhere near what would be deemed acceptable.

 

If the school are uncooperative, your first port of call would be the board of governors of the school if you wanted to make a formal complaint, after that, your LEA, and eventually SENDIST.

 

Please check out IPSEA's website,they are a voluntary advocacy group for SEN children and are marvellous. They can be found

HERE.

 

For moral help and support, as well as a terrific source of knowledge, I recommend

AspergersUK, a Yahoo group. I can safely say that without them, I would have sunk without trace.

The National Autistic Society are a must site to visit.

 

And finally, in order to get your voices heard, you will need to read a lot about your son's condition, because time and again, you will hit a wall of misunderstanding from people who think that "all he needs is a bit more discipline", people who think that because he looks normal, talks normal, and behaves normal some of the time, must be able to control himself and is "just trying it on", "attention-seeking". As his parent, YOU know him best. Even those professionnals do not know what makes him tick the way you do. And they will want to tell you they know best. They don't. Trust your instincts, and follow them through. But you'll need to learn to be able to back that up with the appropriate references, so if you need pointers for a reading list, let me know.

 

I found that when I was saying: "I believe that my son does this because...", I was ignored as a hysterical mother. When I started saying: "I believe my son does this because... and this is supported by Dr Tony Attwood in such and such book" (or Brenda Myles, or Rita Jordan, or Simon Baron-Cohen...), they started taking me seriously. I had to learn to out-jargon them.

 

Phew. Long post, sorry. Plenty more where that came from

:D .

Good luck tomorrow, let us know how you got on.

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Thanks bookworm yet again your advice is invaluable. We have over the years read up on our son's disabilties as I am sure you have too. We have attended seminars and talks and even looked at the sonrise prog.

 

I still get wound up at people's attitudes to hidden disability. Just because it isn't seen doesnt mean it isnt there. Do people really think that kids with these problems really enjoy the social exclusion that seems to come hand in hand with ASD.

 

Must admit I am not looking forward to this meeting tomorrow but I will post back and let you know how it all went.

 

Off to do some more reading now!!!

Advice & opinions given by Woolfie are my own, and are not endorsed by Consumer Action Group or Bank Action Group, and are offered informally, without prejudice & without liability. Your decisions and actions are your own, and should you be in any doubt, you are advised to seek the opinion of a qualified professional.

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It's not just hidden disabilities people are cruel over .The only experts when it comes to a child is the parents , I learnt that the hard way :(.I truly wish you good luck for tomorrow and hope you let us know how it goes .

When you want to fool the world, tell the truth. :D

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Thankyou MJ I appreciaate that.

Advice & opinions given by Woolfie are my own, and are not endorsed by Consumer Action Group or Bank Action Group, and are offered informally, without prejudice & without liability. Your decisions and actions are your own, and should you be in any doubt, you are advised to seek the opinion of a qualified professional.

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Surely you mean go get em Woolfie? :D

Advice & opinions given by Woolfie are my own, and are not endorsed by Consumer Action Group or Bank Action Group, and are offered informally, without prejudice & without liability. Your decisions and actions are your own, and should you be in any doubt, you are advised to seek the opinion of a qualified professional.

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I'm afraid the onus is firmly on the school to help prevent the behaviour emergence than trying to stop it once it has happened. A teacher that tells you otherwise is the equivalent of Mr Brian Mullen telling you why bank charges are fair and reasonable.

;)

 

 

is this a dig at me?

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All went well at the meeting today and they are going to put further stratagies in place to better manage things in school! They were sympathetic to our situation and took on board what we were saying.

 

I decided not to push them too hard this time because they were so willing to help my son and seemed to have a genuine affection from him.

Advice & opinions given by Woolfie are my own, and are not endorsed by Consumer Action Group or Bank Action Group, and are offered informally, without prejudice & without liability. Your decisions and actions are your own, and should you be in any doubt, you are advised to seek the opinion of a qualified professional.

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Hi Woolfie... good luck with this... make sure you keep on at them to keep these strategies up. My nephew has ADHD and Tourettes (think Pete Big Brother) which causes no end of problems at school. They seem to understand one moment then throw away any hard work by excluding him at the drop of a hat after he has an episode.

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  • 1 year later...

i am having the totally same problems, i have been told my son is not bad enough for special school but yet he keeps getting excluded. i am at work all day and they are constantly ringing me at work just to tell me trivial things.

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I'm afraid that a lot of what is being said by some people on here is nonsense.

 

Exclusions such as this one usually do come as the result of one incident, so his report stating his good behaviour might stand you in good stead in terms of getting him re-admitted quickly, but not for arguing the exclusion shouldn't hasve happened.
There are two types of exclusion, permanent and fixed term. A fixed term exclusion is just that - fixed. A child will not be admitted earlier than the end of the fixed term. It appears that a re-integration meeting is taking place - which is good practice, but the school cannot under any circumstances make the re-admission conditional on this meeting happening. There are very few incidents for which exclusion is the immediate sanction - especially for one incident.

 

As for discrimination, the school is in a tricky situation here. If they have an expected standard of behaviour and usually exclude for this type of incident, then they would be seen by most parents to be being unfair in not excluding your son. I don't really think you can claim discrimination if your child is being treated in the same way as the others at the school.
It is not permissible for a headteacher to exclude a child because of behaviour related to a disability/special need; particularly so of the child has a statement of SEN. To reach the point of exclusion in that case means that the school has failed to properly manage the disability/SEN; not that the child should be excluded.

 

I dont think they have heard him directly but when i phoned last week to find out what was going on i was told that my son had been questioned for about an hour and he had finally admitted he had made inappropriate comments!!
Any alleged incident should be thoroughly investigated by the headteacher before an exclusion. This does not require a 'confession'; it does require written statements from all those(including children) involved

 

Which member of staff excluded your son? I don't mean signed the letter, I mean sent your child home. In law, only the headteacher may exclude a pupil.

 

How long was the exclusion? The number of days affects the way in which the exclusion can be reviewed by the Governors.

 

In both the code of practice and the law, exclusion is a sanction of last resort. For the type of 'crimes' you mention here, exclusion would not seem to be an appropriate response without an escalating history of previous similar 'crimes' and sanctions. If this history exists, then the school should have made you aware of the risks of exclusion.

 

To provide specific advice, I need much more detail - if you want to provide this (via PM if you like), I can better advise. However, Bookworm's post provides a lot of the legal background to DDA - I can provide the legal background to the educational side of it.

 

Whilst we all tend to believe our children's versions of events, you do need to exercise a little caution here and listen to the school's version before taking (or threatening) any action. Just as the school are supposed to investigate thoroughly, so should you. However, children with SEN are over-represented in exclusion figures. Many schools prefer to exclude instead of complying with their legal duty to support a SEN child as it is easier, quicker and cheaper to exclude.

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