Below are some examples that GLD/2E students and their families have faced from their schools and/or teachers, due to:-
- lack of understanding or not wanting to understand GLD/2E students,
- lack of training about GLD/2E Students,
- lack of knowledge how hidden disability affects students in the classroom
- lack of knowledge about how simple remedial solutions can make a huge difference for these students academically and emotionally.
- Schools refusing to acknowledge school policy, Departmental Policies, Independent & Catholic School Policy, Disability Discrimination Acts & the Education Acts
- Not believing parents about their child and/or GLD/2E, and the parent doesn’t have an Education Degree, so what could they possibly know what they are talking about
- Schools see parents that advocate as annoying “pains in the bum”, clam up and refuse to communicate because they have been questioned and rightly so, (all professionals are questioned, not just teachers)
These examples have happened in Public, Private, Independent and Catholic schools. Some of these things that have occurred often occurred without the parents knowledge only for them to find out about it much later from their child or by some other means.
- Below is an example of a “Book” a student was given to carry around at school everyday in Year 2. The parents only found out about the “Book” when the book was “found” in the students school bag. The student was able to read what had been written in the book about himself.
This “book” is a list of symptoms that a school should be helping the student and their family with. Why are schools not accountable for this sort of thing??? What help is this to a child, what does it do to a child self esteem to carry around this type of “book”? Does this type of book that a student has to carry with him to each class, not single him out as being different to other students? Setting the student up for a lifetime of not liking or wanting to go to school and distrust of teachers do you think? Parents not trusting of the school system/teachers and principals also??? Imagine how the parent must of felt handing their child over to the school system each day knowing this had occurred.
- Here is the link to the full book the student carried around in Year 2, without his parents knowledge – School Book Primary student carried each day.
- I find this to be disgraceful way for a school to deal with a student, even moreso when they have not discussed this with the family involved.
- Unbeknown to the parents, this same student in Year 2, was often sent out of the classroom and told to run around the back oval and come back to class after they had finished it. No one went with the child and the schools oval backs onto houses and roads – student safety, duty of care – I think not.
- Below is an email a parent had to send to Board of Studies to “prove” to a school that a learning difficulty was considered a disability – in order to get the school to accept their child’s diagnosis was a disability and to continually battle for disability provisions to be provided in the school environment.
- Below is a letter a parent received from a school congratulating the student on doing well in NAPLAN. Upon closer inspection of the letter and NAPLAN report, the parent discovered the child had done very well in parts of the NAPLAN well above school and state averages, but……………….the student was below the state and school average in persuasive writing. Probably a standard letter in the system adjusted to suit school principals “comments”.
This often happens with Twice Exceptional students, aka gifted students with disabilities. it is concerning and disturbing that in this letter to the parents the principal writes about perceived deficits, when this same student has been medically disagnosed with learning difficulties and has weakness with written expression that the student needs help with. (this too shows the school principal do not understand the students needs)
The letter states that there is continuing learning support, which the parent was not aware the student was receiving and the student wasn’t aware of this either – unless the learning support was the training schools give students to sit NAPLAN – to give schools a better overall performance record???
Warning to parents, very carefully and fully read documents/emails that schools send you. If they are incorrect let them know otherwise, incorrect information is held on school files and you are entitled to state your views (although you will never know what is held on file)
- You may think your school meetings are confidential, but beware – teachers take notes from these meetings and even more rarely give copies to parents. However, in the case of one student and their family, the contents of their school meeting, their childs disability and information was photocopied into a school test paper and given out to students, yes mistakes can happen, but this happened not once but twice!!!!!! Imagine how this student and their family felt when this happened. So much for confidentiality.
- Another case, a parent and their disability advocate attended a school meeting in which the meeting was recorded. Both the parent and their advocate were not told this would be occurring. This was not found until a much later date when they were requesting minutes from the meeting they had attended and it was discovered that the minutes needed to be typed up from the recording! The parent and advocate advised the school of this, requested a copy of the recording . Nowhere in this recording did it mention that the meeting was being recorded.
- More…….. A parent and their family had taken medical documentation to their childs school, hoping for help for their child. The parents were upfront with all issues and provided the school with all they knew in the hope it would help their child. That family was offered further assessment of the child, to be done for their child in school holidays – for what??? No explanation given except they wanted more details and when questioned the school never responded. The parents were asked to pay a small $100 contibution towards this testing, although they had provided all the testing required. Further Testing – in school holidays??? Seems odd doesn’t it. How many schools offer this and why??? Why does a student have to be continually assessed when the details are already provided to schools??? What about the student here, no consideration given. Are schools trying to disprove what has been provided because they do not agree with what has been written??
- Another thing that happens to students, they are handed out school assignments very close to the end of term, with assignments being expected back first day of term – no exceptions! No consideration is given to students with disabilities, that have enough difficulty in asking questions to start with, but are not able to ask teachers questions about the assignment during the school holidays. This places anxiety on the student, frustration on their part causing temper tantrums and melt downs for the families involved. Fair??? I think not.
- Other occassions school assignments have been handed out and explained to a class after a school assembly, when everyone has broken for recess, because they have been forgotten to be handed out in class. This process isn’t fair to any student, let alone a student that has working memory problems, difficulty hearing and remembering what is said. Not to mention, very easy for the assignment to go missing for those students who have known planning and organisation difficulties
- A family, attended a school meeting organised by the school to discuss their childs needs. The child was in attendance at the meeting. When the parents arrived for the meeting, they were taken into the school library, along with the principal, and other school attendees, in full view of a class using the library – the room had no blinds and students could see in. This was very uncomfortable for the student involved and parents also. The family believed this was done to make things uncomfortable for their child and themselves. The meeting was not a private meeting as one expects in these situations.
- Parents have been advised in a school meeting that receiving the use of a computer, because the student has difficulty with handwriting, was considered an unfair advantage, even when the family involved produced medical assessments advocating for the use of the computer.
- Because parents advocate for their child and their child gets to a “certain age” schools and TAFE think it is their right to refuse communication with parents, not answer questions about the students schooling (because the student has difficulty asking and remember what they are told), even refusing to advising starting dates for enrolment of new school year.
- One student had a TAFE employee phone the students workplace on a Saturday morning (after school had already returned) to advise details of their subjects. Unfair to the student with a disability (forgot what he was told and was embarrassed to be discussing these details at work) and unfair to the employer. The family had been trying to contact TAFE from the end of the previous year to find out these details before school went back, to organise transport, but never ever had a response from TAFE or the school
- Schools have argued with parents for many months advising a learning difficulty is not a disability (this is not true see https://www.ldaustralia.org/disabilities-and-dyslexia.html) and the student in the meantime has been in the classroom not receiving the help their medical professional have advised. Schools tend to argue a learning difficulty isn’t a learning disability and often state this does not fall under their “funding” so they cannot/will not provide assistance.
- Often schools will not abide by the Department’s, Organisations, or School policies even when parents ask about these policies. If the questions get too difficult, the school /principal will clam up and refuse to provide an appropriate answer. Schools do not appear to like being questioned about policies although they in turn point out policies when it suits their agenda.
- If a parent requests a copy of a school policy in relation to Gifted and Talents Students, the parent often is told the policy is currently being rewritten. A parent had been told the same thing for over a year and no policy was ever forthcoming. Imagine if all other organisations did this.
- A carer had their child sent out of classroom and a letter was posted out to them about the behaviour. Ironically, this letter was sent home from the students teacher, after the parents had contacted the school a few days prior, stating their child with a disability was having difficulty with a subject, needed assistance but was struggling to ask for help. Plus the student didn’t feel like he was being taught properly by this teacher. When the parents questioned what the problem was about both the principal and teacher refused to answer the parents questions about the incident. Even more ironically, the following Year that same student topped the Year in Maths (with a different teacher) and received a Credit in an external out of school exam. Maybe the parents were telling the truth, their child was having difficulty and needed help…………… but schools took a different approach to the issue
- Another incident, upon giving schools medical documentation stating the High School student was better off to be using a computer for all written work, the school proceeded to give hand writing lessons in classroom time, pulling the student from other classes. When the parents found out about this, they contact the school, a meeting was held at the school. The parent was advised it would be the principal, Learning support teacher and themselves. When the parent showed up there were over 7 people in this meeting – all supposedly to help the student. In that same meeting the school told the parent that having access to the computer was an unfair advantage to other students (even though this was medically advised) and that the student would not receive these provisions for HSC. It is not the school that makes these decisions it is BOSTES. The school should be implementing the provisions medically advised for the student to use throughout school, plus they should be putting in a true application to BOSTES properly advocating for the student for HSC provisions. Teachers who fail to advocate properly on behalf, that take their own personal opinions into consideration and do not properly apply for disability provisions for the student (that have been medically recommended) from where I sit that teacher is not doing their job properly and they should receive further training. That is what happens in other jobs. Also parents are entitled to question the application and can request a copy of the document the schools send to BOSTES, although they will and do hide these.
- Schools recording of late attendance for student as partial days absence and not advising parents the student has been late for school until school report is issued. When the parent questioned the school, school advised they had given the student a “note” to take home to parents. This school was aware the student has ADHD, suffers organisational issues, working memory issues and losing things. The student did not think they were ever given a note (but couldn’t really remember given it was quite some time ago in the reporting period). The parent told the school about the Departments attendance policy – that schools must advise parents and follow up, but the student still recorded unexplained absences recorded on his school report and would not listen to the family. The parent has been advising the school the difficulties the student was having going to school and being bored with school, but school see this not as part of the students disability, but the student deliberately “naughty/difficult” and the parent a pain in the bum for questioning and asking for assistance.
- A GLD/2E student who has a known writing disability, his school and teachers had been advised over many years of his writing difficulties, received a comment on his school work, see below
- A student who was doing a School Based Traineeship and TAFE study for his HSC had his subjects mixed up by the school/TAFE. The school asked the student to sign documentation to fix the problem, without consulting/advising parents of the changes. The student has difficulty remember what he is told in certain situations, gets stressed and anxious, but the school still had him sign the paperwork. The student came home to the parents and said he had to sign something for his HSC – he had not idea what he was signing. It turned out the document he signed was stating that the student understood he would not be eligible to complete Year 11. The parents made contact with the school, but were never given a reason why the student had been asked to sign the paperwork without the parents knowledge. Covering up??? This again is another incident of schools not understanding students disabilities at school. Asking a student to sign paperwork that relates to their future, that they had no idea what they was signing and the parents not being informed is just wrong and unethical.
When the parents requested a copy of the document the student had signed, the school just scanned the document, with no explanation and emailed the document. It was fortunate for the student, that the parent noticed the the student had actually signed to acknowledge they ‘WILL NOT MEET THE ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS TO COMPLETE YEAR 11 (PRELIMINARY) THIS YEAR DUE TO THE FOLLOWING – TOO FEW PRELIMINARY UNITS” – See below.
This is just another example of how schools refused to communicate with parents that have advocated for their GLD/2E student. They will not explain their actions or allow the parents to know what is going on with their childs education.
- A parent had been applying for Disability provisions for their child to sit the HSC and had several appeals . The school received the decision the day after BOSTES made it which unfortunately was unfavourable. The school didn’t email the decision to the parents as they had previously. Instead they posted the decision via snail mail. My guess is so the decision would be received outside the 14 days to appeal timeframe. The only way the parent found out the decision had been declined was to contact BOSTES directly. BOSTES refused to give information to the parents, told them to go back to the school. Again the school would not reply. The parent went back to BOSTES advised they had recontacted the school and only then would BOSTES forward a copy of the unfavourable decision. No guessing what the parent did, lodged another appeal and went to Human Rights! Schools trying to help students?? This is the sort of things schools will do when parents are rightfully advocating for their child.
- A Year 12 parent of a GLD student who has ADHD & organisation difficulties, requested a school time table for a student to include times/subjects so they could organise transport for their child to attend TAFE and to assist the student during times of free study periods as the student at times forgets times/days etc. The student and parent needed this information to try and organise transport, when student was required back at school. The school were aware the student struggled with organisational issues. See below how the school presented the timetable to the family. No effort had been put in to arranging this to help the student (imagine what would happen if a student did this for an assignment),. This is what schools tend to do to parents who advocate for their children. In this case the parent had been advocating for the students needs since Year 7. The parent could never understand how the school always “forgot” the student had difficulties. What the parent and student requested of the school was not unreasonable, and it was appalling the way the school presented the information. When the information was finally sent through to the family, it was just scanned and emailed, no subject, no explanation of what was being sent. Imagine if a business carried on like this and what does this say about a school and their teaching standards if this is what they do??
- The same parent of the above student, also asked about whether the student was enrolled in tutoring (mentoring) program as the student was not sure. As mentioned above the student struggles at times to remember to ask what he needs to at school. Student was enrolled last year, but was not aware it continued over the following year and had not been advised. It wasn’t until the parent read in the Newsletter that the Program had been started. The student hadn’t spoken to the school about the mentoring program, even though the school said the student did, or if they had they had forgotten about it. Highlights even more why schools should communicate better with families of all students that have a disability.
- Below shows how schools tend to respond to parents that advocate for their child and if they consider them a nuisance. First response to your emails will be “thank you for your email. A response will be forwarded as soon as is practicable” to every email you send. They will then proceed to half answer a question. The parent then re-emails the school for the rest of the information and the school thinks you are being a nuisance! Never mind they only half answer questions (image is students did this), Never mind the parent is trying to help their child, try to organise their school because school refuses to help, thinking the student is now in Year 11/12 they don’t need any help, all the while working themselves!
- This schools actions show clearly they do not understand the students medically diagnosed difficulties and disabilities and that they are not willing to help the student/family involved. Seems a case of pick and choose who we help. Note the comment to the parent we encourage you, if you feel it is appropriate
- A High School Student was attending TAFE during school hours to enable completion of School Based Traineeship. The parent requested the school to be able to assist the student and provide work missed on the days they were at TAFE, in a tray at schools office for the student to collect, i.e put a procedure in place to help with the students disability, so would know where to collect the work, not have to continually chase teachers, and then later forget about collecting the work. The School advised the student had to ask the teacher for work each time they returned to class. The school would not listen to parents requests for what would help the student, they obviously didn’t want to help and did not make any alternative reasonable adjustments, even when the student had medical documentation advising their difficulties. Schools then wonder why students become disheartened, disinterested and why some students eventually drop out of schools.
- A student and parent requested a school to complete and Educational Access Scheme form. Parent requested school to complete form and return to them so they could attach documentation that had been witnessed by a JP. School were informed parent would not be providing medical impact statement from medical practitioner as they has spend a lot of money that same year to apply for 2016 HSC Disability provisions and all information was contained within. School rudely wrote on application that parent refused to sign document, even though it had been explained to school the reason why. School sent application directly to UAC and when the parents requested a copy of the document, the school simply did not respond to the parents request. The EAS application was return to the parent by UAC and showed the incompetent way the application had been completed. Also requested disabilities the parents had asked the school to apply for were not included, nor was the schools certificate of attendance letter included. The principal wrote a diagnosis that the student had previously been diagnosed with, but medical evidence could not confirm the diagnosis ironically because the school had not provided documentation. Does a principal think because they have Dr in front of their name, they are medical professionals also and can write diagnosis? Is this a school doing the write thing by a student? Again highlights what schools do to families of students with disabilities that advocate for their child. One ponders, why would and should a school hide information from parents????…………..
- When a child was in Preschool, the preschool teacher/director thought he was being too loud and noisy. The preschool teacher did not discuss this with us at the time. We later found out from another concerned parent that the teacher/director put cotton wool in his ear to show him what is was like to have quiet.
All the above incidents show how some schools treat GLD/2E students and their families for advocating. Not right and really unacceptable and something needs to change. Seems some schools are note accountable for their actions and the heirachy don’t want to know about it, easier not to. So until people start speaking out, things will never change