Justice for Jake

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Jake - 18 years old on 19 December 2019.

For 14 years, he has been attending Southern Autistic School, a school that is now well-known for its violence against students, it’s patronising view that children with Autism can’t learn, it’s belief that it is not important for young people to have a communication method, and Bruce McPhate’s personal communication style of waiting a month or more before responding to concerns from parents-or perhaps just those who complain.

In 14 years, Jake has continued in every one of those years, to learn words such as “hello” and “toilet”, and phrases such as “I want….”.

Is it because Jake only has the capacity to learn such words? No. He learnt these in preschool. Southern Autistic School are not interested in teaching the children who attend there and Jake now faces an adult life without being able to communicate and with no functional academic skills.

Jake’s mother has asked Mr McPhate repeatedly to explain how he is going to fulfil the school’s commitment to educate Jake. He refuses to answer that question.

Jake is bright enough to have a future. Jake can learn. Jake is the same as anybody else, interested and motivated when people assume he is a worthwhile human being with an active mind.

Jake’s mother asked Mr McPhate throughout 2019 to stop all non-academic activities, and treat Jake as a learner. He refused. Instead he went trampolining, continued to be farmed out to sheltered workshops, and did other meaningless activities as set out clearly in his timetable.

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On behalf of Jake and all the other children at Southern Autistic who are not being educated, please support this petition. Jake only has one chance-his chance is now. The Department of Education must honour its commitment to him. Jake deserves an education and to be able to communicate, as every other young man in Victoria does.