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Principal defends rejecting autistic boy (2)

By Huang Yuli in Shenzhen (China Daily)

08:21, September 21, 2012

Eager to learn

Mao Mao's mother, a single parent, said before her son was enrolled at Baocheng Primary, he attended Yuanping Special Education School, also in Shenzhen, where the district education authority said he is still registered. He also previously attended a public school in Wuhan, Hubei province.

"My son is only slightly autistic," she said in her apartment near the school. "He sings well and plays piano.

"All I want now is to get him back in school. He likes this school, he likes his classmates and teachers, he doesn't want to leave," she said, wiping away tears. "He's just got a year left in primary school. Why don't they give us a chance?"

The mother added that she still wants Mao Mao to attend a regular school, rather than return to Yuanping Special Education School, which is an option, because she feels it will help him integrate better into the community.

However, Principal Lin disagreed and recommended the teenager be given one-on-one teaching from a specialist.

Cheng Xuecai, director of basic education for Bao'an education bureau, said that children with disabilities have been able to enroll at regular schools, according to a local policy implemented in 2007. All they need to do is pass an evaluation.

"We have hundreds of students who require special education in (regular) schools, but this has never happened before," he said. "The principal at Baocheng Primary told the boy's mother her child could attend for two months, and if it worked out they would transfer his registration. But it didn't."

Mao Mao had not been expelled, Cheng said, adding that the school had requested he be given an evaluation before returning.

"The one-sided reports have harmed the school's image … and this could put off other schools from accepting children with special-education needs," he said.

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