My daughter Isabelle needs your help.
Isabelle is fifteen years old and currently attends Brighton Secondary College -- she loves animals, volunteers with animal services, goes to girl guides Girl Guides and is a lifesaver at a local Life Saving Club.But because she has Aspergers Syndrome, the school has banned her from attending a four week animal immersion trip in Africa.
It's breaking my heart watching what my daughter's school is doing to her. The school says that seeing Isabelle doesn't have 100% attendance, she “should not be permitted to go”. Also the "stress" Isabelle mayexperience on the World Challenge trip next year may pose a problem. But the school did not consult Isabelle's medical experts who said she is fully capable, would not need any modifications to help her whilst on the camp and would add value to the World Challenge experience.
On weekends in summer, Isabelle volunteers at our local Lifesaving Club. The President even said yesterday that "We trust her enough to put her on the beach and save people's lives in the community - we can't see why the school isn't giving her the chance to show her abilities on the trip" -- but for some reason the school still can't see past her disability.
My daughter has dreamed of going on this trip. She's devastated -- but the harm the school is doing goes far further -- my beautiful daughter now has an added worry and challenge every day as she struggles “to go back to my school who doesn't believe in me”.
I know that only a limited number of students can go on the trip. However the schools decision regarding Isabelle had nothing to do with numbers of participants. The school said her application was “great, no problems” until they punished her for her less than 100% attendance. Attendance that is impacted by her disability. So for our school to ban Isabelle simply because she has a disability is just wrong. It hurts me so deeply watching this happen to my daughter.
A report last year by the Human Rights Commission found systemic discrimination against kids with disabilities still exists in Victorian schools. On a systemic level, last week Children with Disability Australia released a paper written by Macquarie University that “clearly identified that Australia is far from meeting its obligations under the CRPD [Convention on the Rights of Persons with a Disability] and revealed many legislative breaches of DDA [Disability Discrimination Act].” The right to an inclusive education is articulated in the CRPD. Sadly, it's something our family knows far too much about.
It would mean the world to me and Isabelle if you would sign my petition. I'm asking Brighton Secondary College to apologise for discriminating against my daughter and people like her with Aspergers Syndrome -- and for them to allow her to attend the Africa animal immersion trip she's been dreaming of attending.