Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Time to end discrimination in schools

While we're on the subject of court cases, the Office of Human Rights Proceedings will take IHC's case over systematic discrimination against the disabled in the education system:

The rare step is a significant milestone as IHC seeks a declaration that the Education Ministry and schools are treating intellectually and physically impaired pupils unlawfully.

If IHC is successful, the Government could be found in breach of the Human Rights Act and face orders for compensation.

It is nearly four years since the complaint was first lodged with the commission. The stage is now set for years more legal action and appeals.

IHC claims the state education system is failing pupils with special needs and illegally denying them the right to an education at their local schools.

While the article talks about compensation, that's not the point. The aim is to get the government to end these practices by schools, not merely compensate their victims. Even if the practices are permitted by law, there's still a remedy, as the Human Rights Review Tribunal can issue a declaration of inconsistency, which requires a response to Parliament.

From the article, its pretty clear that what the schools are doing is both immoral and illegal. The government should settle and fix the problem as quickly as possible. But that would cost serious money, so instead they're going to squander millions of dollars of taxpayer's money fighting a losing case, simply in the hope they can outlast their victims.