(UK) Landmark Court decision; illegal to expel autistic kids because of bad behavior

Aug 14, 2018, Independent: Schools will find it harder to exclude children with special needs after landmark ruling Schools attempting to exclude poorly-behaved children with special educational needs will need to make adjustments to support pupils before they can exclude them, a court has ruled. The landmark judgment will make it harder for schools to exclude children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) because of their challenging behaviour, which could be a direct result of their disability. Judge Alison Rowley, sitting in the Upper Tribunal, said it was "repugnant" to consider such behaviour as "criminal or anti-social" when it is a result of a child's condition rather than a “choice". She made the remarks while ruling in favour of the parents of a 13-year-old boy, identified only as L, who was excluded from school for aggressive behaviour linked to his autism….

It is believed thousands of pupils with disabilities, including autism, will now be given extra protection from exclusion following the legal challenge to the Department for Education (DfE). The government has launched a review into school exclusions – after the numbers have risen by 44 per cent since 2012/13 … Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “Schools do everything they can to support children with special educational needs, including those young people who display challenging behaviour.” But he added that a lack of funding from the government made it harder. “Many schools have had to cut back on the individual support they provide to pupils because of the need to make significant budget savings and this makes it more difficult to provide early intervention to prevent behaviour problems from escalating,” Mr Barton said. “This tribunal ruling makes it even more important that the government improves funding urgently.”… "The government should recognise this decision and act immediately to make sure that autistic children are no longer unfairly excluded from school.”…