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Primary school convicted after refusing child with Down syndrome

A judge has ruled against a primary school that refused to allow a child with Down syndrome to register for the second year. The parents had taken the matter to court.

Maxim was in his first year at the school, when his parents found out he would not be welcome in the second year. The school principal had asked all teachers whether they would be prepared to take the child - which needs special attention - in their class next year, Els Keytsman of the Centre for Equal Opportunities explains. "However, nobody responded positively, except for the teachers providing special care."

But the parents wanted Maxim to continue amidst the other pupils and took the matter to court. A judge has now taken their side, convicting the school and ordering them to pay a compensation. "It is not up to the school to decide that the pupil would be better off in a special school", the court added. 

Maxim (10) has meanwhile moved to a different school where his needs can be met via a tailormade approach in a normal class among other pupils, and is feeling good there, his mother says.