A vigorous campaign by the 29-strong population on Graemsay, including the headteacher, was lost this week amid claims that the island would become another St Kilda.
Protesters also expressed fears for the safety of Kevin Pepper, aged nine, the sole pupil, who faces a daily ferry journey to Stromness on Orkney Mainland.
Kevin's education cost Pounds 55,000 a year and the education department has had to make savings of Pounds 340,000. Officials also felt he would benefit from being taught with other children.
Jim Sinclair, the council's vice-convener, said he had been horrified by the "emotional nonsense" spoken by some of the campaigners. "Kevin won't be expected to come down the pier all by himself in a howling gale," Mr Sinclair remarked.