“When you say you’re going to have a royal commission that’s going to have disabled people at the heart of it and then you don’t have a single disabled person whose giving evidence, that’s incredibly problematic,” advocate Samantha Connor said.
Some students with disability have been denied bathroom breaks and forced to sit in their own urine, while others have been forcefully dragged by their teachers, the disability royal commission has heard.
The case, which could have implications for thousands of families who believe their child has been excluded from learning due to a disability, is listed for a three-week hearing in the Federal Court next year.
Some teachers are “resisting diversity” in their classrooms and failing to cater for disabled students, the disability royal commission has been told. Special education teachers say despite some students having “complex needs”, there is no reason they cannot attend and thrive in mainstream schools.
The disability royal commission in Townsville has been told while there are amazing teachers many don’t want children with disabilities in their classrooms.
10-year-old girl with Asperger’s was hit across the head, pushed from a pier and had to hide in a rubbish bin to escape harsh taunting by classmates, the disability royal commission has heard.
third of all children with disability have been restrained or secluded at school while half have been bullied in the past year, according to a government-funded report that reveals “severe neglect and abuse” of young people and calls for “special schools” to be phased out.
Felix’s mother Chloe Letica believed some of her son’s behaviours might have been avoided if he was offered more support. She is now home-schooling him. “It is infuriating,” she said. “He has a legal human right to an inclusive education.”
This advocate redesigned the Disability Royal Commission website so people with disability can actually use it
“There were a lot of bureaucratic words, a lot of information about things like ‘letters patent’, which is legal jargonese which people don’t necessarily understand, or need to know. What they need to know is how they can tell their story, how they can be supported to tell their story, what they need to do, and what’s going to happen when they do it.”
The Children and Young People with Disability Australia organisation said its findings show young people with disabilities are being failed by the education system, and called for special schools and separate classrooms to be phased out.
More than a fifth of disabled young people have been subjected to some form of restraint at school in the past year, new research shows.
“The commission is confident that the issues that have been raised are ones that can be resolved in time for the first hearing,” Ms Pirani said.
Despite advocates fighting for decades to have a royal commission, Children and Young People with Disability Australia chief executive Mary Sayers said the process since it was announced in April has been “rushed”. “What’s a stake is we’ve got a once-in-a-generation opportunity. We know that students with disability have a really rough time in school … and they start behind and don’t catch up,” Ms Sayers said.
Well-intentioned people are failing to see the entire child and that child’s immense potential because they see the child’s disability first, according to an inclusive education researcher.
Newcastle University education lecturer David Roy said the way state’s schools dealt with disabled children was sometimes haphazard, and could be further exacerbated by the new approach.