Greek student sues State Government

first_imgThe mother of disabled student Christos Wade, who was separated from his classmates by a steel bar, is suing the State Government.Lamprini Wade says that her son Christos Wade, 15, was barred from attending Mildura Specialist School fulltime, and by the end of his time there, was threatening self-harm. She is suing the Department of Education for allegedly failing to protect him from bullying, failing to modify the curriculum so that he could understand it, and not providing him with adequate support. Christos, who has an autism spectrum disorder and language disorder, is now approximately seven years behind his fellow students and has battled anxiety and depression, according to Mrs Wade. Ms Wade had originally pulled him out of a local public high school and enrolled him into Mildura Specialist School in 2008 because he was being “kicked and punched” and told that “he did not belong”.“Even his psychiatrist said that Christos would be better off going to a special school,” said Ms Wade. “But after two days, I was told that he did not fit the criteria and didn’t belong. I was told if I rocked the boat and complained I would lose the funding that he’s already got.”“He was unsettled on his first day because he had broken his legs and kids wanted to draw on his plaster. He got upset because he didn’t want them to draw on him but he didn’t do anything wrong.”Ms Wade then spent the remainder of the year writing letters to the Department of Education and the school to allow Christos back into the school, with little response.Finally in Term 4, he was accepted back into the school, but only for three days a week and two hours a day.“He had to sit behind a steel fence and was not allowed to interact with the other kids,” she said. “I felt so sorry for my son. For eight weeks I kept pleading with her (the principal) but I was told there was not enough funding.”Ms Wade alleged that Christos was often shunned at the school, and prevented from attending school excursions. She claimed that her son had been required to attend a computing program off the school campus. On occasion, Christos and his aide would walk 3 km back to the school in 40C degree heat.“He has not made one friend, because they made it really difficult for him to attend the school and made him feel unwelcome,” she said. “They [the school] also had a habit of not giving slips for excursions…hoping that I would not notice.” Ms Wade recalled that Christos was refused attendance to the end of year Snakes and Ladders excursion even after she offered to pay for it.At the end of 2009, Christos took stress leave for almost a full term because he was suicidal and depressed, according to his mother. During this time Mrs Wade attempted to enrol Christos in mainstream schools, who told her that they did not have the resources and should attend the special school.Ms Wade made numerous attempts to contact the principal to formulate a transition plan, so that Christos could re-enter the school and learn in a more positive manner, however these were unsuccessful, she claimed.The Education Department refused to comment on the specifics of the case because it is currently before the courts.However a spokesperson for the Education Department said: “In ensuring every child has every opportunity to reach their full potential, the Brumby Government has invested $417 million on the Program for Students with Disabilities in 2009 – an increase of 112 per cent since 1999.“The Government is committed to improving the learning outcomes for students with disabilities and additional learning needs.”Access Law anti-discrimination consultant Julie Phillips stated, “While there is an official government policy on ‘inclusion’, most mainstream schools simply do not receive enough funding to meet the needs of children with disabilities. This inevitably results in pressure on parents to take their children to special schools. Often parents are therefore faced with two sub-standard choices in relation to the education of their child.” The matter is now before the court and should be heard later this year. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more