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Sparta, NJ: Violent autistic student suspended; "danger to himself as well as other students"

Mar 13, 2020, Newton New Jersey Herald: Sparta teen with autism temporarily barred from school SPARTA — The Sparta School District has obtained an injunction implementing a temporary period of home instruction for a 15-year-old high school student with autism, who is barred from physically attending school during this period but will still be allowed to try out for the school’s golf team. The order, dated Feb. 21, was issued by an administrative law judge after the Sparta School District submitted a petition for emergency relief on Feb. 10 seeking to bar the boy, whom school officials had argued was a danger to himself as well as other students and staff, from participating in all school and extracurricular activities and compelling his parents to accept a program of home instruction for at least 45 days until further arrangements could be made. Until last year, the Sparta School District had been sending the teen out-of-district to the Shepard School, a special education school in Morris County. However, for reasons not stated in the order, he was returned last year to the Sparta School District, where the judge indicated his parents “were assured that with a behaviorist in place and an aide, (he) could handle high school.”… However, school officials claimed he encountered problems of a social nature as he began his sophomore year that continued into January, including an incident where he broke a desk, leading them to seek his removal from school and to have him taught at home instead. At least two staff members, including the school principal, testified that they were concerned the teen’s presence could compromise the safety and welfare of other students, but the golf team coach said he felt it would not be problem for the boy to take part on the team provided the boy’s father was present with him at all practices, tryouts and tournaments if he made the team — something the boy’s father said he was willing to do, if it came to that…. However, the boy’s parents still opposed the school district’s petition, arguing that cutting off their son from his peers would be unfair and damaging to him. Judge Andrew M. Baron, who heard the case, nonetheless found that the school district had met its burden under the law of demonstrating that the school would suffer irreparable harm if the boy was not removed and placed on temporary home instruction….


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