The Disability Royal Commission has landed in Townsville, Queensland for a public hearing for the very first time. Queensland is Australia’s first state to introduce an inclusive education policy. Parents of special needs students have come up with their harrowing experiences to present it at the public hearing which was slated for 3 years at a cost of $527 million.
A mother of a 13-year old from Queensland told how her daughter, who suffered from Down Syndrome was made to suffer and torture during her second year at school. She was regularly yelled at by the teacher and was dragged down by a flight of stairs once during school. After this, she wasn’t able to attend school as she was horrified by the school and her teacher.
This was one of the hundreds of stories where children were special needs were harassed and bullied at their schools on a frequent basis. One of the kids used to hide in trash cans to hide from the bullies at the school.
However, this is not the only problem in schools in Queensland. In most of the cases, parents were straightaway refused to let their kids at mainstream schools citing that the school won’t be able to cater to their needs support them. One of the parents told that her eldest son was autistic but the teachers wouldn’t understand that. Her son was so terrified that he used to carry a knife to the school.
Disability Royal Commission suggests for special schools
The main suggestion by Ronald Sackville, chairman of the Disability Royal Commission, was the establishment of special schools for students with special needs. This was also supported by Queensland teacher’s union who claims that the teachers find it difficult and exhausting dealing with such situations as they are not trained in that way.
However, there are a lot of situations that the commission has no idea of. None of the witnesses who testified in the hearing belonged to special needs. A lot of advocates feel that the commission has rushed so quickly into the hearings that the plan might fail at a later stage instead of succeeding. The next hearing would be in Melbourne in December 2019.
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