Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


IHC files discrimination complaint over disabled students

IHC files discrimination complaint over disabled students

Media release 30 April 2014

IHC today filed a complaint with the Human Rights Review Tribunal to win equal rights for disabled students in schools.

High profile Queen’s Counsel Frances Joychild will lead the legal battle with the Ministry of Education. The Auckland barrister specialises in human rights and recently represented parents in the successful legal action over payments for carers of adult disabled children.

IHC’s complaint goes to the heart of the issue that has West Auckland’s Green Bay High School and the Ministry of Education struggling to resolve the exclusion of a 14 year-old boy with Asperger syndrome. The student was involved in a tussle with a teacher over a skateboard. In February this year the High Court overturned the school’s decision to exclude him.

IHC Director of Advocacy Trish Grant says the Green Bay case illustrates what can go wrong when a school doesn’t have proper support in place for a student with special needs.

Trish says IHC the Green Bay student is one of many in New Zealand facing discrimination because their schools don’t have the resources or systems in place to support students with disabilities. She says behavioural issues do occur, but disciplinary procedures are being overused instead of proper supports being put in place.

“These students are legally entitled to attend their local schools. If they are prevented from enrolling, or treated differently from their non-disabled peers, then it’s a human rights issue.”

But IHC’s beef is not with schools, principals or teachers. It has the Ministry of Education in its sights over the policies and practices in schools that lead to discrimination. “This is not anti-school, anti-teacher – this is pro disabled children’s rights to have their needs met,” she says.

Trish says many children experience unjustified discrimination in schools throughout New Zealand. Depending on the response from the Ministry of Education, the case is likely to be heard later this year or early next year. IHC is funding the legal action, which is expected to cost $350,000.

The legal action is being taken under Part 1A of the Human Rights Act which prohibits the government from breaching the child’s right to be free from discrimination. In this case the claim is about the child’s right to education.

IHC is not planning to put forward individual families as plaintiffs at the hearing. “We are the plaintiff – we didn’t want families exposed and pressured in this way.” However it will be putting evidence from families to the Tribunal about their child’s experience in the education system. She says human rights and children’s organisations are showing serious interest.

Evidence will also be presented from schools that will highlight the disincentives that exist to include disabled children.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines



Gordon Campbell: On John Key’s Trip To Iraq

In the embedded press coverage on this trip, the absence so far of any evaluation of the wider context of what New Zealand thinks it is doing at Camp Taji has been striking. More>>


Labour: Parata Puts Brakes On Charter School Appraisal

“When the Ministry of Education recommended they compare the achievements of children at charter schools to those of their counterparts at state schools, the documents show Hekia Parata specifically prohibited them from doing so." More>>


Bad Day For Universities: Gun, Bomb Threats On Three Campuses

Dunedin Police are continuing their investigation into the threat made against the University of Otago. Staff are following a number of lines of inquiry, and police are working to verify the authenticity and source of the post. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The TPP Deal Reached In Atlanta

Yes, the TPP has helped to knock a few points off the tariffs facing our exporters. Yet some of those alleged dollar gains may well have been made regardless over time – and without the negative baggage of the concessions in the non-trade areas (intellectual property, copyright extensions, investor-state dispute mechanisms etc) that the TPP deal also brings in its wake. More>> (Cartoon by Dave Wolland)

Public Summaries:


Wellington.Scoop: Serco – First The Prisons, And Now It Wants To Run The Trains

As the government continues its inquiry into Serco’s discredited administration of Mt Eden prison in Auckland, here in Wellington there’s further scrutiny of the British outsourcing company – because it’s competing to take over the running of our commuter trains. More>>


Pre-Signing: Gordon Campbell On The TPP Countdown

To date, the Key government has been unwilling to share any information about this TPP deal until it is too late for outraged public opinion to affect the outcome... the disclosure process is likely to consist of a similarly skewed and careful exercise in spin. More>>


Australia Deportations: English Relaxed On Immigration Centre Conditions

Labour's Annette King: “There have been numerous reports from inside these detention centres on just how bad conditions are... If they were being held in any other foreign jail, I imagine Mr English would be somewhat concerned. More>>


Schools: Achievement-Based Funding Would Be A Disaster

The Education Minister’s speech to the PPTA Conference raising the spectre of achievement data driving a new funding system would be disastrous, says NZEI Te Riu Roa. More>>

  • Video Out-Link - PPTA Annual Conference 2015 on Livestream (Q+A dicussion suggests funding would be directed to less successful schools.)

  • ALSO:

    ECE Report:

    Get More From Scoop



    Search Scoop  
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news