BALLARAT’S Dana Street Primary School will face discrimination proceedings in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal over its treatment of an autistic pupil.
Rebecca McKinnon launched the complaint after she said Dana Street staff tried to force her five-year-old son Conner out of the school this year.
Ms McKinnon withdrew her son from the school after staff and teaching aides complained they could not supervise Conner and repeatedly asked her to enrol him at the Ballarat Specialist School.
“From his very first week it seemed draining for them that Conner was at the school and they were not in a hurry to complete paperwork or doing anything for him,” she said.
“The staff were constantly complaining to me that he was too difficult and they did not have the things they needed. They had a bad attitude towards me and Conner.”
A recent conciliation session between the school, Education Department officials and Ms McKinnon failed to reach an outcome.
Ms McKinnon said she enrolled Conner at Dana Street to give him the opportunity to improve his communication and social skills around other children.
Her complaint includes suggestions that the school failed to properly integrate Conner into class activities and excursions.
“One staff member told me that a special school was ‘the only place for children like Conner’,” she said.
Ms McKinnon said she has spent more than $10,000 to move her family close to another public school where Conner will receive better care.
The Education Department and Dana Street principal Paul Nolan declined to answer questions about the complaint, but Mr Nolan said Dana Street was aware of its obligations under anti-discrimination legislation.
“Our school is committed to meeting the needs of all of our students and provides a range of support to ensure they are given the best opportunities to achieve at and enjoy school,” he said in a statement.
“This can include working with families and relevant support agencies to create a tailored individual learning plan, taking into account a student’s learning needs.”