top of page



  • Facebook Clean Grey
  • Twitter Clean Grey
  • Instagram Clean Grey

Father claims autistic 5-year-old son was expelled from school ‘for climbing a fence’

Five-year-old Bodhi Draper, who is autistic, was nonverbal up until last December (Picture: SWNS)

An autistic boy has been expelled from school and ‘discriminated against’ for climbing a fence, his dad claims.

Carl Draper, 48, said his five-year-old child Bodhi was suspended in May, after he climbed a five-foot fence in the playground at Montacute School in Poole, Dorset.

He was permanently expelled four days later, with a letter which said his behaviour ‘places him at risk of serious harm’.

The fence incident was just the latest in what Carl and his partner Charlotte Walker, 44, have called a ‘case being built against Bodhi’.

The little boy, who was nonverbal up until last December, had already been in trouble for allegedly running over a teacher’s foot with an empty wheelchair and hurting a teacher’s groin after running into him.

Carl and Charlotte said things were going well at the school, which Bodhi started attending in 2020, until the pair had an annual review with the headteacher two years later.

That is when they were told the school has ‘gone as far as we can go with Bodhi’, but he remained at the school.

After this, the parents were called in about the other two incidents, one of which teachers said had resulted in ‘serious injury’.

Carl said: ‘Being ex-ambulance and Bodhi’s mum an A&E nurse, we knew at this point we were being lied to.

‘A case was now being built against Bodhi, the school were not helping him and there was no person-centred care approach.’

Now that Bodhi does not go to school, Carl has had to quit his job as a photographer to homeschool his son.

He said: ‘The impact on our well-being is devastating – we’re lost.

‘We have been dumped at the roadside and we are now finding out how common this is for people.

‘We are completely in the dark. I have Bodhi all day every day.

‘Charlotte (a clinical supervisor) works full time and she is now having to work extra time to pay for my bills.

‘Our son has a mark on his record for being excluded. We want him cleared and in school.’

Bodhi had been in trouble several times at school before he was expelled (Picture: SWNS)

Carl went on to accuse the school of ‘discriminating against’ Bhodi and denying him his right to education.

He said: ‘He has been 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.

‘Being any child having a disruption any week is bad. There was a huge knock-on effect for us.’

Carl and Charlotte have hired a solicitor to help fight Bodhi’s case and started fundraising for the legal fees.

Montacute School said: ‘Our school is a vibrant learning community supporting nearly 100 children with complex learning difficulties and disabilities. Around 50% of our pupil population have had an autism diagnosis.

‘We work tirelessly to support our pupils, and are proud of our work to help children and young people from the ages of 2 – 19. At the heart of this is our commitment to ensuring that every child is safe and is able to thrive through the personalised learning pathways we put into place for them.

‘Very occasionally we have children who, despite significant work and support, struggle at our school. Permanent exclusions are incredibly rare.

‘In making any decision like this, we have to consider not only the safety and wellbeing of the child who is being excluded, but also the impact that they have on the much broader school community. It is a decision that we would only make as a last resort when all other avenues have been exhausted.

‘In relation to this specific case, the police are currently investigating issues in relation to comments made on social media and we have been advised not to comment further whilst this is ongoing.’

Statement from Dorset Council:

Dorset Council said: ‘Although the school involved with this case is in the BCP Council area, Dorset Council is aware of the situation.

‘We are working with BCP Council and with the family to look for an alternative, suitable placement for Bodhi, in settings across both council areas.

‘Every child has the right to the best possible education to meet their needs, and we will continue to work with the family and other relevant agencies to support Bodhi going forwards.’

Credit: metro


bottom of page