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(Ireland) Parent of severely autistic teen sues over school placement

Oct 23, 2023, Breaking News: Mother of teen with special needs takes legal action to secure school place https://www.breakingnews.ie/ireland/mother-of-teen-with-special-needs-takes-legal-action-to-secure-school-place-1543018.html

The mother of a teenage boy with special needs has launched a High Court action aimed at securing her son an appropriate school placement.

The High Court heard that the boy, due to his health and educational needs, has been searching for a school placement that would address his needs.

The boy has been diagnosed as having Autism Spectrum Disorder, and a moderate intellectual disorder. The court heard that the boy has no sense of danger, has been aggressive with others, and has a history of attempting to abscond from his home.

He has been placed in residential setting by the HSE as his parent could no longer manage his behaviour at home.

The High Court heard that while the residential setting is working very well for him, his mother says that it is not meeting his educational needs.

His mother, who has been working with the National Council for Special Education has been unable to obtain a place due to the lack of available places.

It is accepted that it is difficult to find a school place with properly trained staff due to the boy's challenging behaviours.

School placement

The boy's mother fears that he will be permanently prejudiced and will never reach is potential unless he gets a school placement.

While he is aged in his early teens, a placement in a primary school is deemed the most appropriate setting for him.

As a result of not been able to get a place the boy, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, has through his mother brought High Court judicial review proceedings against the Minister for Education and Skills, the National Council for Special Education, Ireland and the Attorney General.

Represented by Michael Lynn SC and Brendan Hennessy Bl it is claimed that the respondents have failed in their legal and constitutional obligations to give effect to the boy's constitutional rights, including his right to an adequate education.

In his action, the teen seeks various orders and declarations including an order compelling the Minister, and the NCSE to provide the teen with an adequate and appropriate school education.

The application also seeks a declaration that the respondents have failed in their duties, as set out in the Irish Constitution, the 1998 Education Act and the 2004 Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs Act to provide the boy with an adequate primary school education.

The matter came before Ms Justice Niamh Hyland on Monday.

The judge said she was satisfied to granted permission, on an ex-parte basis, to the application to bring the challenge.

The case will return before the court next month.


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