We welcome the adjudication of Mr. Thomas O’Driscoll at the Workplace Relations Commission and his findings that a child with Down syndrome had been discriminated against by a primary school on the grounds of disability under the Equal Status Act. Having engaged with this family and supported them from an early stage, our happiness with the findings is tinged with a sense of sadness and regret that any child with Down syndrome should have had such a negative experience at school. The preparations for the WRC hearings; the meetings and consultations; and the hearings themselves were upsetting and difficult. It is our very sincere hope that a situation like this will never arise again in any school in this country and that lessons will be learned at all levels of our education system, from schools right to the highest levels in the Department of Education, from the findings highlighted by Mr. O’Driscoll.
As an organisation, we will continue to support all children with Down syndrome and their families to the best of our ability, in addition to working with schools and teachers at all levels to provide a full and inclusive education for all children and young people with Down syndrome. Thankfully, there are so many schools now who welcome children with Down syndrome and who readily ask for help and advice. However, we understand that there can be challenges so please contact me by email at any stage email@example.com if your child has experienced or is experiencing any form of education related exclusion.
Link to the Article via RTÉ: https://www.rte.ie/news/ireland/2022/1109/1335128-wrc-primary-school/