Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search


Attitudes towards students with disabilities must change

Attitudes towards students with disabilities must change, Commission says

11 January 2018: The recent case of an autistic boy having to move schools due to bullying is a clear indication that more has to be done to change attitudes towards children with disabilities and address bullying in schools, says the Human Rights Commission.

The Ministry of Education has recently agreed to override school zoning rules to help a child into a new school because he was physically and verbally bullied on a daily basis at his previous school.

Disability Rights Commissioner Paula Tesoriero says we should all be asking ourselves why disabled children are being bullied at higher rates than others.

“In this specific case, one child suggested to another that they kill themselves. It doesn’t get more serious than this. The fact this child has moved schools provides an immediate response to the situation, but what is needed is a change in attitudes towards disabled kids in our schools.

“The Ministry has made the right decision in moving this student to a new school. However, the fact that the bullying was even taking place is a reminder that we have a long way to go to ensure children with disabilities feel they are valued members of their classrooms, schools, and wider communities.

“We need to be raising our children to celebrate their differences – not use them as a tool to bully and abuse others,” Ms Tesoriero says.

Chief Commissioner David Rutherford says the statistics around bullying have to change and has been advocating for a proven bullying prevention programme to be introduced in more New Zealand schools.

“The ongoing failure to address a problem that New Zealand children have identified as one of their greatest concerns is a national disgrace. If it is not addressed, we will continue to have one of the worst rates of school bullying in the developed world with all the personal and social costs that follow.

“Programs that are proven to work raise awareness of the need to respect and protect each other and provide specific interventions for students when bullying occurs.

Such programs are particularly important for students known to be subject to greater likelihood of bullying such as disabled and SOGISC (Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Sexual Characteristics) students.

“If we create an expectation when our children are young that bullying is not OK, they will grow into adults that share that same message in their workplaces, in their homes and in their communities,” Mr Rutherford says.


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis Review: A Bigger Splash - Te Papa Celebrates Twenty Years

Considering the available resources, this is a decidedly hit-and-miss affair, mainly due to some highly questionable curatorial decisions. In their overweening wish to "push boundaries," Charlotte Davy and Megan Tamati-Quennell have made a number of serious miscalculations by ignoring a basic rule - keep it simple. More>>

Howard Davis Review: Smelling the Merchandise - The Death of Stalin

Having satirised British democracy with such devastating effect, Armando Iannucci has now turned his lens on the dangers inherent in Soviet authoritarianism. Every gag is girdled with fear and the bleak humour is so pitch black it could only have been pumped from deep underground. More>>

Howard Davis Review: The Creole Stylings of Cécile McLorin Salvant

"You only get a singer like this once in a generation or two," commented Wynton Marsalis, who has repeatedly hired her to front his jazz orchestra and mounted a 25 foot high portrait of her on the exterior of Lincoln Center. “She radiates authority. She has poise, elegance, soul, humour, sensuality, power, virtuosity, range, insight, intelligence, depth, and grace.” More>>

Max Rashbrooke Review: The King's Singers and Voices New Zealand

To be good at one thing is impressive; to be so versatile across a range of genres is truly exceptional. The latest incarnation of this six-strong male singing group includes Kiwi Christopher Bruerton, and it was a delight to hear him sing the solo on the achingly beautiful My Love Is like a Red, Red Rose. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland