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ROME

Down’s child rejected from summer school

A boy in Rome with Down’s syndrome has been rejected from a summer school for being “difficult to manage”, the child’s father has said.

Down's child rejected from summer school
Rome authorities granted the boy a free place at a sports centre. School photo: Shutterstock

The boy started attending the private summer school last week, returning for his second day only for his parents to be told that he was too “difficult to manage”, La Repubblica reported on Tuesday.

“[The manager] said that they were very sorry, but he couldn’t attend, he was difficult to manage and they didn’t have the personnel to dedicate” to looking after him, the boy’s father Andrea wrote on Facebook.

The father said he was willing to pay for a tutor to help his son at the centre, only for the offer to be rejected, the newspaper said.

After posting his account of what had happened on Facebook, attracting widespread support, Andrea was reportedly approached by local politicians.

Valerio Barletta, president of Rome’s XIX municipality where the family live, invited them to an event to meet Mayor Ignazio Marino.

“We proposed enrolling his son, for free, in a state sports centre, where he will be welcomed from tomorrow, together with other children,” Barletta was quoted as saying.

Erica Battaglia, president of Rome’s commission for social and health policies, welcomed the news and said she was “proud” of the way the city administration had responded.

Similar acts of alleged discrimination against disabled children and young adults have happened recently elsewhere in Europe.

In March, an entire class in Norway planned a trip to Gran Canaria, without inviting their 18-year-old classmate with Down’s Syndrome. It was not until the story hit national news, provoking outrage across the country, that the woman was invited on the trip.

READ MORE: Down’s student’s class went to Canaries without her

In Spain last year, management at a hotel refused a booking for a group of children with Down’s syndrome, saying that "these kinds of people might annoy other guests". The hotel was taken to court and accused of discrimination, after it told a travel agent "we do not admit groups of guests with mental disabilities.”

READ MORE: Hotel bans 'annoying' Down’s syndrome kids

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ROME

Body of missing American tourist found in Rome’s River Tiber

The body of a missing 21-year-old tourist was found in the River Tiber on Thursday morning, according to media reports.

Body of missing American tourist found in Rome's River Tiber

Elijah Oliphant, from Dallas, Texas, was on holiday with his family in Rome when he went missing several days ago.

Oliphant’s parents reported his disappearance after he left his hotel room shortly after midnight on May 24th and did not return.

Hotel security footage showed him leaving the premises wearing a white undershirt and pyjama bottoms, which he was wearing when he was found.

Oliphant’s corpse was reportedly spotted by passersby near the Ponte Sisto bridge in Rome’s Trastevere district around 10am on Thursday morning. His body was positively identified by his parents.

Members of the fire brigade and river police who recovered the body say there were no obvious signs of violence, but an autopsy will be conducted to determine the cause of death. Trastevere police are reportedly investigating the matter.

The Oliphant family had arrived in Rome for a holiday on May 23rd. When Elijah went missing the following day, his parents launched an urgent appeal to help find their son.

His disappearance was featured on the missing persons television show, Chi l’ha visto (‘Who’s seen them?’) on May 25th.

Several foreigners have been found drowned in the Tiber in recent years, though there are no indication that any of the incidents are linked.

In 2016, the body of 19-year-old American student Beau Solomon was recovered from the river.

Rough sleeper Massimo Galioto was charged involuntary manslaughter in the case, but was ultimately acquitted in 2020.

Prosecutors said that Galioto pushed Solomon in the course of a violent argument. Galioto’s defense team acknowledged that the two had argued but said the student had accidentally slipped.

In May 2019, 37-year-old Imen Chatbouri, a former athletics champion from Tunisia, was found dead in the Tiber after a night out. CCTV footage later showed she had been pushed from the Ponte Sisto bridge.

A then-26-year-old man whose advances she had rejected earlier that evening was convicted of her murder in November 2021.

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