School Discriminated By Failing To Provide Sign Language Interpreter,
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
February 23, 2006
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA--An administrative tribunal has determined that the State of Victoria's Department of Education discriminated against deaf primary school student Dylan Beasley by failing to provide him with a competent sign language interpreter in the classroom.
Dylan was using Auslan, the recognized sign language in Australia, before he started attending Pearcedale Primary School in 1999. His mother, Robyn, claimed in a lawsuit that once her son started school he was not able to understand what was happening in class because many of his teachers did not know how to sign adequately or, in some cases, could not sign at all.
When the suit was filed last September, Mrs. Beasley's attorney estimated that the government would likely spend about $500,000 in legal costs to defend the case, while the costs of providing the supports Dylan needed would have been around $35,000.
The Age news service reported that this week's Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal ruling agreed with Mrs. Beasley's allegations.
"His opportunities for discussion, question-and-answer with the teacher were more limited and he had less time to complete written work than did the hearing children," the tribunal wrote of Dylan's situation.
The case is one of several disability discrimination cases pending against the education department. Recent cases elsewhere in the country have forced schools to provide teachers or interpreters fluent in Auslan.
"Deaf boy succeeds in school case" (The Age)
"Math Lesson For State Education Department: $35,000 Is Less Than $500,000" September 14, 2005 (Inclusion Daily Express Archives)