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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 September 2005, 15:59 GMT 16:59 UK
Judge backs school over expulsion
Rhys Gray
Rhys Gray had a poor disciplinary record
The father of a pupil who tried to sue exclusive public school Marlborough College for expelling his son has had his case thrown out.

A judge at Southampton County Court ruled against Russell Gray, who claimed the school was trying to get rid of his son to boost its league tables.

Rhys Gray, 16, was expelled from the Wiltshire school earlier this year after sitting his GCSEs.

The court had earlier heard Rhys had a very poor disciplinary record.

Judge Anthony Thompson QC ruled the allegations made against the college were "unfounded".

[He showed] an almost total disregard for school rules and the failure to understand the effect his behaviour would have on others
Judge Anthony Thompson QC

Mr Gray, who was refused leave to appeal against the judgement, was ordered to pay the school's legal costs in the case.

Judge Thompson said Rhys appeared to have found the move from a day school in London to a boarding school away from his home difficult.

He accepted that many of the incidents the teenager had been involved in were minor, but said: "The cumulative effect shows an almost total disregard for school rules and the failure to understand the effect this behaviour would have on others."

In a statement, Marlborough College said: "Today's judgement recognises that an independent school must be able to exercise its judgement when it believes it is not in the best interest of either pupil or the wider school community for a pupil to remain at the school.

Drunk and disorderly

"Requesting the removal of a pupil from the college is never a decision that is taken lightly. The college regrets that this case reached this level of dispute as we always try to do our best for all pupils."

Speaking outside court, Mr Gray, who now faces a legal bill of about 200,000, said: "I'm obviously sad.

"It would have been nice to think that this case could have brought about a shift in attitudes towards private schools.

"I did always say that the best thing that could happen to Marlborough is if they lost it [the case] and demonstrated that they weren't above the law, but it's not to be."

The court had been told how Rhys, who was punished for more than 400 misdemeanours during his time at the school, had been arrested aged just 13 for being drunk and disorderly.

As he was detained he verbally abused a police officer, swearing at him and calling him an "idiot".

On Wednesday, Mr Gray said that even if he had won the case, Rhys would not return to Marlborough because his relationship with the 22,000-a-year school had broken down.

Student Rhys Gray gives his reaction to the ruling

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28 Sep 05 |  Wiltshire
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27 Sep 05 |  Wiltshire
Pupil expelled for 'poor record'
26 Sep 05 |  Wiltshire
Exam grades 'back dad's protest'
25 Aug 05 |  Wiltshire
Father sues over son's expulsion
22 Aug 05 |  Wiltshire

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