All parents are proud of their children when they score highly in tests, participate in co-curricular activities, and even when they land in the best schools in the states. While that is true, nothing compares to the joy Natasha Damiral felt when her son played a lead role in the final year play. Hayden had gone through tough moments in his life. He had ADHD, epilepsy and autism tendencies. As a result, taking a lead role in a play was among the greatest achievements he had made in his life and that of his mother. In Downs primary school, Hayden received the best care and support from his teachers, speech therapist, and even the educational trainer. As a result, he passed in his Sats exams and received a standing ovation during the play.
Teachers, students, and the audience in the play enhanced his self-confidence. He would then progress to Burnt Mill Academy in Harlow, Essex. A strict behavior policy characterized the school. There is a hierarchy of disciplinary actions ranging from short-term detentions to exclusions. In the event there are students unresponsive to the lower levels of disciplinary actions, members of the senior staff get to remove them from class. According to Hayden’s mother, his son was at a disadvantage.
The school had no additional support for children like Hayden. Hayden fell foul with the behavioral policy. ADHD led to his inability to concentrate in class. On the other hand, doing homework became a problem. If he was reprimanded, the results were unmoderated responses. Incidents became more prone as years went by, and in year ten he was excluded for two days. Breaches in the form of wearing different colored socks and eating on undesignated places became more often. His mum requested for more help. However, it was not forthcoming. With 39 incidents in that year, Hayden was excluded for five days. Later on, the school made the exclusion permanent.
It was then that Hayden’s family reported the school to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal. After two hearings, they gave judgment against the school. The school was ordered to write an apology letter to Hayden and organize on acquiring staff specialized to handle neuro-developmental disorders. According to the school, they failed in excluding Hayden permanently, without considering the opinion of an educational psychologist. They are currently recruiting to fill the position. The decisions of the tribunal serve to remind schools that they have a role to play in the development of students, especially those with neuro-developmental conditions.