Council reviews special needs student policy


GINGIN District High School Council is considering a formal policy to accommodate for special needs students in individual situations.

The review comes after a special needs student was allowed to race in the age division below her at the school’s swimming carnival, but was not awarded the championship trophy after winning the majority of the races.

Gingin Parents and Citizens president Sue Moir said: “She was racing in that age group … she was given ribbons … but she wasn’t given the trophy because she was told she was not supposed to be in that age group … to a little child that makes a big difference.”

Gingin District High School principal Kevin Brady said: “She was allowed to swim under to stop her from feeling embarrassed … giving her the award would be unfair to other special needs students who didn’t receive a trophy for swimming in their categories.”

The school does not yet have a formal policy to deal with the treatment of unusual situations.

The need for a formal policy will be taken to the school council for discussion.

Ms Moir said the student’s mother was told the evening before the swimming carnival in February that her child was eligible for the races and awards.

She also said the neither the parent nor child were told of the decision made at a school staff meeting the day of the carnival that the student was allowed to race and receive place ribbons, but not the championship or runner-up awards.

Ms Moir added: “There was no compromise … or resolution given.”

But Mr Brady said: “I am sad because the intention was to make the day as nice as possible for [the student] but unfortunately had not worked out that way … we try to be as inclusive as possible.”

He explained it would be unfair to other special needs children if the student was awarded the trophy on the day of the carnival.

Mr Brady said the school needs a formal policy to make it easier to deal with individual and personal situations to make it fair for all involved.

He added that parents, who are in similar situations in the future, can “come and talk to us, talk to the local [parents and citizens] group and talk to the council who take policy decisions for the school.”

AUDIO: Interview

Categories: Education

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