Discrimination in Education Legal Cases

 

 

 

Adjustments for student with learning disabilities A mother complained that her son, who has a learning disability and has been assessed as having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, had not had his disabilities effectively accommodated by his school. The complaint was resolved without admission of liability when the school agreed to develop a plan, in collaboration with a peak education body and the boy’s mother, to identify adjustments for the assessment tasks for each subject; provide professional development support for teachers in the design and implementation of adjustments to assessments; assist in the development of a policy on recording issues raised by parents and the procedure for sharing relevant information with school staff; develop a communication strategy to coordinate effective communication between all stakeholders; provide professional development on the prevention of victimisation and bullying of students with disabilities; and waive two terms fees for the student.

Adjustments for learning disorder   A mother complained that her son’s school had not taken appropriate steps to accommodate her son’s auditory processing difficulty. The matter was resolved without admission of liability with an agreement to meet to develop an individual education plan including with the input of a speech pathologist, and to review the plan within 4 months

2007 Adjustments in exams A girl who has a learning disability affecting her reading and writing complained that she had not received sufficient reasonable accommodation in exam procedures. The complaint was resolved when the education authority agreed to provide 10 minutes extra time in a number of subjects and a reader for mathematics exams. In another complaint a boy who has been assessed as having dysgraphia complained of receiving insufficient accommodation. The complaint was resolved when the education authority agreed to provide 10 minutes extra time and to permit the use of a word processor in exams.

From Australian Human Rights – Conciliated outcomes: education

http://www.hreoc.gov.au/disability_rights/decisions/conciliation/education_conciliation.html

Updated October 2009 Reminder: Conciliated settlements are usually made without admission of liability and may not provide firm precedents for other cases.

Accommodating behavioural disorders in education A man complained on behalf of his grandson, a year 6 school student, that reasonable adjustments were not being made to accommodate his disabilities including Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. He was concerned that his grandson had been suspended on several occasions, and was frequently sent home from school early. The complaint was resolved with an agreement to develop an action plan which focussed on the student’s transition from primary school to high school and including an individually tailored transition program, a communication strategy and assessments by relevant educational experts.

Exam procedure adjusted A university student complained that he had not been offered alternative times for sitting exams which he needed because of physical and psychological injuries as a result of a motor vehicle accident. The complaint was resolved with an agreement to work with the student to make alternative arrangements for future examinations and assessments.

Back on the bus The parents of a boy who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair complained that his local public school had replaced a bus fitted with a wheelchair lifter with a new bus without wheelchair access and their son was no longer able to get into the bus to attend school excursions and camps. The complaint was resolved when the school agreed to fit a wheelchair lifter to the new school bus, and to develop protocols for communication between the school and parents about the boy’s participation in activities.

2008 A place on stage A mother complained that her daughter, who has a physical disability, could not participate in an arts project involving all the other members of her class, a presentation of Balinese dancing. The complaint was resolved when the school arranged tutoring to enable the girl to play Indonesian percussion music and accompany her classmates on stage.

Individual support needs re-assessed A mother and father complained that their daughter, who has attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, was receiving inadequate support at school or enable her to learn effectively or remain safely at school during the day. The complaint was resolved when the education authority agreed to fund an assessment of the girl’s needs and options for effective education for her.

Extra time A school student who has a hand tremor because of a disability complained that he had not been granted adequate adjustments for undertaking his upcoming final exams. The complaint was resolved with the education authority agreeing to provide the student with an extra 10 minutes per 30 minutes exam time to be used to write, dictate or rest as he chose.

Oral interpreting rearranged A student who is Deaf and whose first language is thus not English complained that he was being disadvantaged in his senior school examinations b not being able to choose a sufficiently qualified teacher for interpreting of science exam questions. The complaint was resolved when the education authority made arrangements to have available a teacher with suitable subject knowledge.

Accommodations for child with autism spectrum disorder A mother complained that her son who has an autism spectrum disorder was not being effectively accommodated in his primary school education. The complaint was resolved with an agreement by the education authority to develop and implement an improved individual education program.

Access to school facilities A woman whose son uses a wheelchair complained that school ceremonies were held in a hall which only had inaccessible toilets, despite representations being made to the school over several years. After the Commission explained to the school that the Disability Discrimination Act does in fact apply to use of premises constructed before the commencement of the Act, and that provision of accessible toilets on the other side of the school did not guarantee compliance with the DDA, the complaint was resolved with an agreement to upgrade the facilities to provide access.

Accommodation of autism A father complained that his son who has autism had been discriminated against by being failed for not completing a group work component of a year 12 course. The complaint was resolved when the school agreed to improve procedures for communication with the parents regarding assessment tasks so they could assist their son in developing skills required.

2007 Access to trade course A mother complained that her son, who has a learning disability, had been refused admission to a technical college which he wished to attend to gain a trade qualification. The complaint was resolved when the educational authority undertook to provide support to enable the young man to participate in the course successfully.

Adjustments in exams A girl who has a learning disability affecting her reading and writing complained that she had not received sufficient reasonable accommodation in exam procedures. The complaint was resolved when the education authority agreed to provide 10 minutes extra time in a number of subjects and a reader for mathematics exams. In another complaint a boy who has been assessed as having dysgraphia complained of receiving insufficient accommodation. The complaint was resolved when the education authority agreed to provide 10 minutes extra time and to permit the use of a word processor in exams.

Compensation for limited access to adjustments A man who has a vision impairment complained that he had been disadvantaged in his studies by limits in the availability of assistive technology in his university’s library. The complaint was resolved when the university agreed to waive his fees for the semester.

Reminders for child with ADD A mother complained that her child, who has been assessed as having attention deficit disorder, was excluded from the school choir after forgetting to attend practice. The complaint was resolved with an agreement to introduce a communication book so that the child and her parents would have easy access to reminders about important school events.

Joining in excursions A mother complained that her daughter had been denied access to school excursions because of her disability. The complaint was settled when the education authority agreed to permit the complainant to act as a back-up volunteer assistant if arrangements to provide assistance for the student on excursions broke down on any occasion in future.

Responding to allergies in pre-school Parents complained that their child had been excluded from a pre-school because of nut allergy. The complaint was resolved with an agreement to admit the child and ensure that staff were trained in identifying and responding to allergic reactions.

Accommodating learning disability in TAFE The mother of a young man with a learning disability complained that he had been refused enrolment in a TAFE program and advised that adjustments to accommodate his disability would not be provided. The complaint was resolved when the educational authority agreed to enrol the young man and develop a reasonable adjustment plan.

Sign language interrpeting in adult education A woman who is deaf complained that an adult education provider had refused to provide sign language interpreting for a course. The complaint was resolved with an agreement to pay $3000 compensation.

Allergies in residential courses A student with severe allergies including to perfumes complained that a residential course was not accessible to him because only shared rooms were available. The complaint was resolved with an agreement to provide access to a single room.

2006 Access to course materials A university student who is blind complained that course materials were not always provided, or provided in a timely manner, in an accessible format. The complaint was resolved with an agreement for the student to provide notice 8 weeks before semesters of intended courses and of her access needs; and for the university to source electronic texts from publishers where possible as well as providing a participation assistant for 60 hours per semester to assist with library searches and scanning of materials.

Adjustments for exam A student complained that an education authority was refusing to provide adjustments for final exams to be conducted in eight days time. The complaint was resolved within 4 days of receipt with an agreement to provide the adjustments.

Education access and mental health issues A father complained that his daughter had been refused selection for an education program , based in part on her having been treated for depression and concerns that the demands of the program could cause a return of this condition. The matter was settled when the respondent agreed to pay $7000 compensation and revise its procedures to ensure that appropriate medical advice would be obtained and taken into account in any further cases where health concerns were raised.

Adjustments for student with intellectual disability   Parents of a boy with an intellectual disability complained that he had been discriminated against in not being fully included in classroom activities or excursions and required to be collected earlier than the finishing time for other students. The school noted concerns regarding his ability to participate effectively as well as safety issues with a tendency to leave the school grounds. The complaint was resolved without admission of liability with an agreement by the school to provide an additional $3500 for individual tutoring, and to monitor the boy’s progress with this additional assistance.

Adjustments for student with learning disabilities A mother complained that her son, who has a learning disability and has been assessed as having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, had not had his disabilities effectively accommodated by his school. The complaint was resolved without admission of liability when the school agreed to develop a plan, in collaboration with a peak education body and the boy’s mother, to identify adjustments for the assessment tasks for each subject; provide professional development support for teachers in the design and implementation of adjustments to assessments; assist in the development of a policy on recording issues raised by parents and the procedure for sharing relevant information with school staff; develop a communication strategy to coordinate effective communication between all stakeholders; provide professional development on the prevention of victimisation and bullying of students with disabilities; and waive two terms fees for the student.

Chronic fatigue and education Parents complained that their daughter, who had been diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome, was being discriminated against in bein required to repeat a year on grounds of gaps in attendance. The complaint was resolved without admission of liability when the school agreed to pay $15,000 compensation and review its policies on disability, learning support and special consideration.

Adjustments for learning disorder   A mother complained that her son’s school had not taken appropriate steps to accommodate her son’s auditory processing difficulty. The matter was resolved without admission of liability with an agreement to meet to develop an individual education plan including with the input of a speech pathologist, and to review the plan within 4 months.

Access for parent with a disability A woman who has a disability affecting mobility complained that her daughter’s school classroom was not accessible to her. The complaint was resolved when the education authority advised that ramp access had now been provided.

School adopts disability policy A woman complained that her grandson had been discriminated against by an independent school when he was expelled because of behaviour associated with his psychological disorder. The complaint was settled when the school agreed to develop a disability policy expressing commitment to the value of diversity and compliance with the DDA and the Disability Standards for Education; participate in formal communication with families and assessment of development of students with disabilities throughout the year; and consult with the school’s relevant peak association on disability procedures and policies.

Interpreter for film making course A man who is deaf complained that he had been discriminated against when he was asked to arrange and pay for his own interpreter to participate in a community college course on making short films. The complaint was settled with an agreement to provide an accredited interpreter for the course.

Bullying of students with disabilities A mother complained that her son who has a vision impairment had been bullied in relation to his use of assistive equipment for reading and that the school did not act quickly or fully to respond to this, leading them to change schools. The matter was settled when the school agreed to review its anti-bullying policy and include specific provisions on bullying of students with disabilities; conduct disability awareness training including on staff obligations under the DDA and the Disability Standards for Education; waive outstanding fees, pay $4000 compensation and allow the student to keep a laptop which had been obtained for him by the school.

2005 Technology and additional time improve exam opportunities The father of a boy with dyspraxia (a disability affecting speech which can also affect learning to read) complained that his son was not receiving sufficient accommodation to afford him equal opportunity in secondary school exams. The complaint was resolved when the educational authority advised that new technology would allow the boy to have access to digital recordings of exam material and that he would be permitted an additional 10 minutes in every hour of exams to manage the technology. In another case, the mother of a girl with speech dyspraxia similarly complained she had not been adequately accommodated. She had been offered an oral recording of exams but was seeking additional time instead. The complaint was resolved with an agreement to provide 60 minutes additional working time and use of a desktop computer for exams (with arrangements to ensure that this could not be used or perceived as being used to gain unfair advantages, for example by having spell checking removed).