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Ryan has a right to go to camp

1 November 2006
Ryan has a right to go to camp

Banning a special needs child from attending a school camp because he has a disabililty is discriminatory and legally dubious, Green Party Disability Issues Spokesperson Metiria Turei says.

The parents of Ryan Harrison from Te Huruhi School on Waiheke Island have tried unsuccessfully to have thier son included in a two-day school camp after the school informed them, with no consultation or prior notice, that Ryan would not be able to attend the camp. Ryan suffers from a developmental delay which means that he learns more slowly than other students.

Ryan's parents offered to pay the cost of thier travel to accompany him on the trip, but the Principal of Te Huruhi school has reportedly refused even this offer.

"Children with disabilities have a right to education. Learning outside the classroom, like class trips, provides important learning opportunities. These opportunities should be designed to include every child and not discriminate on the basis of disability," Mrs Turei says.

"Ryan Harrison has a right to the same education and learning experiences as his classmates. The Ministry of Education should investiagate the legality of the school's decision in this case and take action if possible to protect this right.

"Most schools are great at including all children. It appears that Te Huruhi School is simply failing to meet the standards expected by the community.

"Problems like this are a consequence of Tomorrow's Schools, under which principals and boards have absolute power over what happens in their schools and are not subject to legal scrutiny. Familes who find themselves mistreated and discriminated against by schools have little recourse, and this is not good enough," Mrs Turei says.


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