Autistic teenager denied education

18-year old Slavko Mršević still goes to his old school every day, waiting outside the building to meet his classmates. Since his dismissal, authorities refuse to take responsibility for his education.

Tijana Cvjeticanin
Tijana Cvjeticanin Istinomjer, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Source: Istinomjer
Autistic teenager denied education - NewsMavens
Student. Pixabay

Why this story matters:

The case reveals the incompetence of Bosnian education officials, and what's worse, their lack of basic compassion.

The teenager used to attend school regularly. Then, a belated decision from an expert commission ordered his school to provide him with an assistant -- a right he’s entitled to due to his diagnosis (high-functioning autism spectrum disorder). The school forwarded the request to the Ministry of Education, who brushed it off and answered that it was too late in the school year to provide an assistant.

Two years and numerous commissions, appeals, and a lawsuit later, Slavko is still denied access to his school.

Even if he only attended school for a few months before having to leave, he still made friends there and -- although he is not allowed inside the building -- he still goes to see them every day.

"Dubioza Kolektiv", the most popular Bosnian band, recently payed Slavko a visit. Despite such public gestures of support and widespread outcry following the case, authorities have not lifted a finger to help the teenager.

education, family, politics, scandal, youth

Details from the story:

  • Slavko lives in Rudo, a small town in the Bosnian region of Republika Srpska, where he enrolled in the town’s High School Center in 2015 and completed the first semester.
  • His attendence required an opinion from an expert commission, which arrived during his first year.
  • The commission concluded that he is able to attend regular school but that he should be accompanied by an assistant.
  • Since the school could not provide him with this service, it stopped considering him a student. He no longer received grades, and was thus unable to officially complete his first year of high school.
  • His parents complained and sought advice from several institutions, all of which confirmed that the school has an obligation to provide Slavko with access to education.
  • The school was instructed to allow him to be tested and graded during the summer, so that he could continue his education next year. They failed to comply.
  • Currently, the case is awaiting a court proceeding, as both the school and the Minister of Education were sued for breaking Republika Srpska's law on high school education.
  • Republika Srpska’s Minister of Education was recently asked by an MP to stop the senseless bureaucratic struggle and put the boy back in school. He replied that the school never denied him education and that the boy is being “used for political purposes”.
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