School asks court to rule on boy’s enrolment

A school is to ask the High Court to overturn a Department of Education direction compelling it to enrol a six-year-old boy who has severe behavioural difficulties.

The Co Meath-based national school’s board of management had refused to enrol the boy who had been expelled from his previous school for bad behaviour.

The boy’s parents — the family cannot be identified for legal reasons — wanted to enrol their son in a senior infant class at the new school which refused the enrolment “on health and safety grounds”.

Mr Justice Donald Binchy yesterday heard the Board of Management of the new school had considered psychological and behavioural reports on the boy and refused to take him.

Feichin McDonagh SC, counsel for the Board of Management, said that the board had considered that the boy posed an unacceptable health and safety risk to other students, as well as to staff and school property.

Mr McDonagh said the boy’s parents had subsequently appealed the board’s decision.

The appeal had been heard by a three-member committee which recommended that the board enrol the child.

Mr McDonagh said it was the school’s case that the committee’s decision was irrational and that it had erred in law.

The committee had failed to deal with the substantive issue before it, namely the child’s “very severe behavioural difficulties”.

Judge Binchy, in allowing the school permission to bring its action, also granted the school a stay on the order compelling it to enrol the student.

Permission was granted on an ex-parte basis, where only one side was represented in court.

It is expected the case will be heard within a couple of weeks.


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