Urgent need for special schools to be afforded equal health rights as mainstream schools

Urgent need for special schools to be afforded equal health rights as mainstream schools

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As special needs educators, we have always instilled in our students that they have a voice and have the same rights as others in their community.  When Covid-19 hit Melbourne, Victoria in a bigger and stronger wave than the first, and stage 3 restrictions were reinstated, we watched the press conference headed by the HON Daniel Andrews, announcing the changes to term three schooling. Our expectation was that specialist settings would not be treated any differently to other educators and students in Melbourne, Victoria. To our disbelief, this was not the case.

The HON Daniel Andrews announced that while mainstream students prep- 10 would be given a one week holiday extension, and staff would return for five days of pupil free planning days, before a possible return to remote learning, special education settings would return to school as normal. 

All teachers regardless of their setting, teach to achieve equity through education. The health and safety of our students is paramount to them achieving this, as is the health and safety of the staff entrusted to deliver this education.  

This decision to return special education students to school regardless of Covid-19 and regardless of their right to a safe education, will have a detrimental effect on students who are already vulnerable in so many ways. 

We ask that you sign this petition to let the HON Daniel Andrews, James Merlino, Meredith Peace and any other bystander know, that the lives of students living with a disability matter, that their health and safety matters, and that so do that of the staff who support them. We ask that they protect us in the same way they are willing to protect mainstream staff and students, therefore, keeping them home in the first week of term 3, 2020. We also ask that any health and safety decisions made about mainstream students in the future, also be afforded to special needs students.

Please sign to show your support for the health rights of special needs students in Melbourne.