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School exclusions 'form of discrimination' and disproportionately impact disadvantaged students, researcher says

Autistic teenager Nash Kirk-Clarke remembers feeling trapped behind the bars of his primary school fence.

"It felt like I was in a prison — like my mum not knowingly was giving me away to a prison," he said, through tears.

"I was reaching my arm out for freedom — a whole year I had to go through what felt like suffering."

The now 14-year-old autism support advocate dreams of working with trains.

But Nash is faced with a tough path after leaving school when he was 10 years old, missing crucial years of his education.

His mother, Paula Kirk-Clarke, said he was left out of the curriculum and isolated from his peers at his Adelaide Catholic primary school.

She said the school asked her to pick him up several times a week because he was so distressed. 

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