A preparatory school that excluded a six-year-old boy with Type 1, insulin-dependent diabetes has been forced to apologise to him and reimburse his school fees. The pupil’s parents, who challenged the school’s decision under the Disability Discrimination Act, were backed by the Disability Rights Commission (DRC).
They had agreed a protocol with the school that meant that their son, under supervision, would self-test his blood sugar levels several times a day and staff would provide him with a snack, if needed, after the test. This was in line with advice from the boy’s consultant paediatrician, who recommended self-testing because he thought it would lead to a better chance of detecting a hypoglycaemic episode. His insulin injections were administered by his parents at home. However, on a Friday in March 2005, when the boy’s mother arrived to pick him up from school, she was told that he would have to leave immediately, and his personal belongings had already been packed.
The following Monday, the parents received a letter from the school stating that without full-time support he could not continue at the school. They were also told that this decision was made following a risk assessment and consultation with staff and governors. As the boy attended an independent school, the parents were informed that they would have had to pay for a full-time carer for him.
The boy’s parents were angry about the way in which he had been excluded from school without notice or time for their son to say goodbye to his friends. Nor were they given any reason why he needed a full-time trained carer.