College Ordered To Admit Teen & Wheelchair
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
September 3, 2003
LONDON, ENGLAND--A 17-year-old has become the first student to successfully use the Disability Discrimination Act of 2002 to challenge a college in it's admission policies.
As a result, Anthony Floyd-Shubrook will attend St. Dominic's Sixth Form College in Harrow, which is near his north-west London home. Floyd-Shubrook selected St. Dominic's because of its location and because it offered the kinds of classes he wanted.
The college refused admission to the teenager, who has cerebral palsy, claiming that his motorized "climbing" wheelchair could have presented a danger to other pupils.
Under amendments to the Disability Discrimination Act, schools are required to offer people with disabilities the same opportunities as all other students.
Liz Sayce, of the Disability Rights Commission which supported the Floyd-Shubrook, noted that the case shows discrimination still occurs within the school system despite the law, primarily because schools and colleges are not aware of its implications.
"Colleges and universities must be aware that barring a disabled person on the grounds of their disability is discrimination," Sayce said following this week's ruling in Manchester County Court. "Health and safety excuses without a proper risk assessment are not acceptable -- they put disabled people's futures at risk."
"Disabled people are only half as likely to go to university as other young people," she added. "Highly qualified young people's talents are being wasted but the new law is changing that."