Dr Kate de Bruin, an expert and lecturer in inclusive education at Monash University, recently provided evidence to the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with a Disability. Her evidence related to barriers to accessing a safe, quality and inclusive school education and life course impacts for people with a disability.
One of the key issues for the Monash lecturer is that educational neglect towards students with a disability is occurring on both systemic and school levels. de Bruin asserts that systemic educational neglect is common in Australia as different jurisdictions have different policies and funding agreements relating to the provision of quality inclusive education.
Systemic educational neglect then trickles down to the school level where parents might be told, "we don't have the funding to support your child." School staff may also have a poor understanding of the policies and guidelines - and the National Discrimination Act - that are in place to ensure students with a disability receive the support they need and to which they are entitled.
In this podcast de Bruin provides recommendations to address these key barriers.
The Monash lecturer also discusses the use of suspensions and other exclusionary measures to discourage "challenging behaviours". According to recent research, de Bruin said the practice "still seems to be widespread" and disproportionally affects equity groups, such as ATSI students, students in out-of-home care, and students with a disability.
Talking about such practices, de Bruin states: "We know it's really, really harmful. It puts pressure on families and it absolves the school from issues that are ongoing."