Families Want Adequate Education For Deaf Children
June 10, 2004
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA--In what is being considered a landmark case, the families of two deaf children are continuing their 2 1/2 year fight for an appropriate education.
Kim and Jon Develin, who are from the Sunshine Coast, are seeking $500,000 compensation for their son, Ben, from the Queensland government. The 10-year-old is in the sixth grade at his school, but reads at the first grade level, and does third-grade level math.
Gail Smith and Jeff Hurst, who live in Coolum, want the school their daughter, Tiahna, attends to use the nationally recognized Auslan sign language system. The family also wants compensation for the future learning needs of Tiahna, a six-year-old who is in first grade.
The families are backed by the Queensland Deaf Society, which has called the state's services for deaf children inadequate, according to the Australian Associated Press. A ruling for the parents could lead to changes in education across the state.
The families returned this week to Federal Court for a seven-day hearing. The case was stalled in March of this year after the judge revealed that he knew one of the witnesses.