Boy with diabetes denied admission to primary school

Wed, 12 Sep 2012
A primary school in Northern Ireland has come under fire after refusing to enrol a boy who suffers with type 1 diabetes.

The family of four-year-old Josh Todd have revealed that Bloomfield Primary School in the town of Bangor made a last minute u-turn on their original decision to accept him, claiming it did not have the provision to cater for his diabetes.

Parents, Helen and David Todd, say Bloomfield Primary was first made aware of Josh's insulin-dependent condition in January following his type 1 diagnosis, which left him requiring four daily insulin injections - one during school hours - and regular checks of his blood sugar levels.

Despite this, the school left it until just a few days before Josh was due to start Year 1 last week before informing his parents of its inability to meet his medication needs.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Mrs Todd said: "Legally we have to send our child to school, but in our opinion the school has shown no compassion or willingness to help our son get the education that he is entitled to.

"We believe our son's school has got their union involved and they have advised them not to volunteer to help us. We both work full-time so are not in a position to provide this care while he is at school. As far we are concerned, this is disability discrimination and a breach of EU legislation."

A spokesman for the Department of Education Northern Ireland said: "Under Article 14 of the Special Educational Needs and Disability (Northern Ireland) Order it is unlawful for the body responsible for a school to discriminate against a disabled pupil by refusing or deliberately omitting to admit him or her to the school.

"Schools must also be able to show what reasonable steps they took towards ensuring the inclusion of the pupil at the school."

Fortunately for Josh, his parents have found him another primary school in the area where staff are willing to administer insulin on a voluntary basis. Provided they receive the necessary training to carry out this medical procedure, he should be able to start school by the end of the month.
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