End Discrimination and Allow Taylor to go to Africa
This petition made change with 546 supporters!
Plumpton College likes to pride themselves on providing courses and support to people with learning disabilities, such as autism. An ex further education student and current higher education student of BSc Animal Science at this establishment, Taylor, has previously been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome and an anxiety disorder, yet he does not let this hold him back. Due to his growing confidence and support from friends, family and the Plumpton faculty, he excels academically and socially, making him no different to any of his peers.
A module on the course, called wildlife conservation, gives students a once in a lifetime opportunity to travel to Mankwe Wildlife Reserve in South Africa to work in conservation for two weeks. Taylor has recently been informed that due to his disorders, he would be a danger to himself and would no longer be allowed on the trip. This is not true, and this is discrimination.
A trait of Asperger's Syndrome is having the strong preference for having and following detailed instructions, and Taylor is no exception. The trip has never had a serious accident, so with Taylor's strong ability to follow instructions - he is the model student to take. Taylor's parents have had multiple meeting with members of staff to fight for his right to education and therefore the inclusion of him on this trip, even offering to fund an extra member of support staff to go with him despite this being unnecessary, but Plumpton is not listening and continues to discriminate against him.
The Citizens Advice Bureau describes discrimination as "where you’re treated unfairly because of something connected to your disability rather than the disability itself, being treated unfavourably means you’re worse off because of the way you've been treated. Unlike direct discrimination, there’s no need to compare your situation with that of someone else. All you need to show is that you were treated unfavourably because of something to do with your disability." And this is what we, his peers, aim to do.
The Equality Act 2010 states that: "A person (A) discriminates against a disabled person (B) if—
(a)A treats B unfavourably because of something arising in consequence of B's disability, and
(b)A cannot show that the treatment is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.
(2)Subsection (1) does not apply if A shows that A did not know, and could not reasonably have been expected to know, that B had the disability."
Taylor's own thoughts on the situation are "when I first found out that I was not going to be allowed to go on the Africa trip, I was devastated. I was very upset and emotionally affected as I have enjoyed the last three years I have spent at Plumpton College and the decision feels like a betrayal, whilst I have not done anything wrong. It has caused me to worry about a lot of things and has made me doubt my ability to succeed and achieve my goals on the Animal Science degree. It has caused me a great amount of stress which has affected my ability to complete my coursework which also causes more anxiety. For as long as I can remember, it has been my dream to go to Africa, to see some of the amazing animals which I love with my own eyes, I feel very disheartened that I may not be able to achieve this dream. I would feel much more comfortable and supported going with my peers than alone on a separate trip in the future."
Thank you for taking the time to read Taylor's story and please join us in ending the discrimination against him by signing and sharing the petition.
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