In the Shadows

Some days working in the world of advocacy is just …well ‘blah’. I’m angry, sad, disappointed, tired.

Tired of hearing the same story from families who have been welcomed into private schools, assured their children will have their needs met only to find that this is not the case. Being told, ‘we don’t have what your child needs.’ Quietly or not so quietly encouraging another more ‘appropriate’ school. Paying their terms notice of fees, as required by most private schools, they move on because they get tired of fighting and where do they move to. Public schools. That’s another blog.

So today I hear another of these stories only to then see all the photos on Facebook of the year 12’s having their last day and the school communities saying their farewells. What a contrast.

I would love to know how many students with disabilities enrol in these schools and actually make it to graduation. How many move on and why? Oh yes, I’ve tried to get my hands on the data, but guess what, can’t touch it, not allowed access, internal business, you need to meet with the Principal. Check mate.

So we are left with our only course of action – The Human Rights Commissions complaint process. No accountability unless you have the energy to engage in battle and I mean battle. Months and months, sometimes years.

So as I look at these photos of smiling faces and happy families I see those other families, in the shadows who hoped that their children would be there today who aren’t. The children who have been discriminated against, the ones who made friends and lost friends because of adults beliefs about ‘Inclusive Education.’

I encourage you to ask questions. Reflect on the young people in your child’s year group. Who came and went? Why? How much did the school charge the family to leave when they actually felt they didn’t have the choice to stay? Real stories, real families, real children.

To the schools who embrace Inclusivity, thank you. To those who don’t, I have one word. Karma.

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