If a special needs child is disrupting a "private" classroom, what are the rights of the other children?
A special needs child is very disruptive—hits, spits, yells profanities at the other children, in a private (parents are paying a premium) theatre class. The teacher has tried to work with the child's parents, and the child continues to disrupt the class and make it very difficult to teach the other children. Does the teacher have the legal right to "not accept" the child into the class? What are the rights of the other parents?
If this is a private paid by parents situation, yes, the teacher can tell the parents of the disruptive child his placement is inappropriate. IF this is a public school setting, then it is much more difficult to deal with. Talk to the owner of the school about your concerns. Ask the other concerned parents to join the meeting. It may have an effect. The parents of this child may be trying very hard to find an acceptable social out let for this child. Do your best to make it a win-win.
Wayne Yankus, MD, FAAP
expert panelist: pediatrics