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Special Needs Jungle: Thousands of Children With Disabilities Will Now Be Properly Protected From Discrimination in Schools After a Landmark Ruling

The legal team had argued that the legal definition of ‘physically abusive’ had been stretched so that schools could exclude six or seven year old autistic children, who may have only displayed a few instances of ‘low-level’ physical aggression without being accused of discrimination. Polly Sweeney had pointed out that the favourable ruling yesterday doesn’t stop schools from excluding children where proportionate, but it would ensure that all disabled children are afforded the same safeguards, protections and rights under the law regardless of whether their disability gives rise to challenging behaviour.

Judge Rowley, sitting in the Upper Tribunal, who was tasked with examining whether this particular rule was in breach of L and other children’s human rights, found that this rule came “nowhere near striking a fair balance between the rights of children such as L on the one side and the interests of the community on the other”. Judge Rowley, recognising that “aggressive behaviour is not a choice for children with autism”

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