A father claims his autistic five-year-old son was expelled from school for a ridiculous reason.
Bodhi Draper was diagnosed with autism at the age of two in kindergarten and was nonverbal until December 2022.
And his father, Carl Draper, 48, claims his son was immediately suspended after scaling the 5ft high fence in his school’s playground in Poole, Dorset.
Just four days later, Carl received a letter saying Bodhi had been permanently expelled from the school because his behavior “puts him at risk of serious harm” and he hasn’t had any classes since.
His shocked parents tried in vain to get him back into school, but couldn’t get a place.
The fence incident came after the boy got into trouble for running over a teacher’s foot with a wheelchair at the Montacute School, his father claims.
Carl and his partner, Charlotte Walker, 44, a clinical director, were also previously called to the school administration office after Bodhi was accused of hitting the teacher and injuring his groin.
And the devastated father has now had to stop working to homeschool his son.
Carl, a photographer from St Leonards, Dorset, said: “The impact on our well-being is devastating – we are lost.”
“We were dumped on the side of the road and now we’re finding out how common this is in humans.”
“We’re completely in the dark. I have bodhi all day every day. Charlotte works full time and now has to work extra time to pay my bills.”
“Our son has an exclusion note in his file. We want him to be acquitted and go to school.”
Bodhi started at Montacute School in Poole in September 2020 and Carl said he loves the classes and his teachers.
There were no problems until two years later when Carl and Charlotte had a meeting with the principal for Bodhi’s year in review.
The couple claimed they were told the school had “gone as far as we could go with Bodhi,” but he stayed in school.
Carl claims he was called to a meeting when Bodhi caused “serious injuries” by running over a teacher’s foot in an empty wheelchair.
He said: “Bodhi was currently under investigation, the school was not helping him and there was no person-centred approach to care.”
Discussing Bodhi’s expulsion in May 2023, the father added, “We received a letter from the school telling us that they have decided to permanently expel Bodhi.”
“We challenged the school and asked where its support staff was.
“Bodhi was discriminated against. He was left behind and the impact on his development is catastrophic.”
“The impact on our lives as parents is incalculable.
“We now have Bodhi at home 24/7 and it is his right to an education and the right not to be discriminated against.”
He continued: “The local authorities have been extremely slow in helping us over the past two months since Bodhi was expelled.
“We believe they are trying to keep him out of school until September 2024 to save money.”
“Being every kid that has a disorder every week is bad. Having an autistic child is really bad, it had a huge knock-on effect for us.”
Carl and Charlotte hired an attorney to fight Bodhi’s case and set up a GoFundMe to raise legal fees.
A Dorset Council spokesman said: “Although the school involved in this case is in the BCP Council area, Dorset Council is aware of the situation.”
“We are working with the BCP Council and family to find alternative, suitable placement for Bodhi at facilities in both parishes.
“Every child has the right to the best possible education that meets their needs and we will continue to work with family and other relevant authorities to continue to support Bodhi in the future.”
A spokesman for Montacute School said: “Our school is a vibrant learning community serving nearly 100 children with complex learning difficulties and disabilities. About 50% of our students have been diagnosed with autism.”
“We work tirelessly to support our students and take pride in our work helping children and young people aged 2 to 19. Central to this is our commitment to ensuring every child is safe and thriving.” the personalized learning paths we have set up for them.
“Very occasionally we have children who, despite significant work and support at our school, struggle. Permanent exclusions are extremely rare.”
“When making such a decision, we must not only consider the safety and well-being of the excluded child, but also the impact it is having on the much broader school community. It’s a decision we would only make as a last resort when all other options have been exhausted.
“In relation to this particular case, police are currently investigating issues surrounding comments on social media and we have been advised not to make any further comments while the matter is ongoing.”
A fundraiser was set up Here.