School challenges department’s direction to enrol boy with behavioural difficulties

Board refused to enrol six-year-old, who was expelled from previous school

First Day at School

First Day at School

High Court

The Co Meath national school’s board of management had refused to enrol the boy, who was 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 infants class at the new school, which refused the enrolment “on health and safety grounds”.

Mr Justice Donald Binchy yesterday heard that the board of management of the new school considered psychological and behavioural reports on the boy and refused to take him.

Safety risk

Mr McDonagh said the boy’s parents had appealed the board’s decision. The appeal was heard by a three-member committee, which recommended that the board enrol the child.

He said last month a senior official with the Department of Education and Skills had communicated the appeal committee’s recommendation to the boy’s parents and the board, and the committee directed the board to enrol the boy.

Mr McDonagh told Mr Justice Binchy the board brought proceedings against the secretary general of the department and against the three-person committee that recommended the boy’s enrolment, challenging their decision.

He said the board seeks court orders quashing the committee’s recommendation and the department’s direction that the boy be enrolled. Counsel said as part of its action the school wants the appeal reheard. Mr McDonagh said it was the school’s case that the committee’s decision was irrational and that it had erred in law.

‘Behavioural difficulties’