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Current Developments in Australia: School Safety and Disability Discrimination--Purvis v. New South Wales (Department of Education and Training)

Sally Varnham,

2004

When a child with a disability behaves in a manner which threatens the safety of other children and staff in the school, school authorities are faced with a dilemma. The balance between the competing interests of individuals and the school community is never more clearly seen than in such a situation. The child has a right to participate equally in the educational process, but he or she shares that right with the rest of the school community, who are entitled to expect that their environment will be safe and non-threatening. The judges of the High Court of Australia recently were required to consider whether the exclusion from school of a special needs child who behaved in a dangerous manner towards staff and other children was discrimination on the basis of his disability pursuant to Section (S) 5 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth). Though divided in their opinions, the majority of the court upheld the actions of the school authorities. This article discusses the decisions made by the High Court of Australia on the Purvis v. New South Wales (Department of Education and Training) case.

Publication information

Journal/Publication : Education and the Law

Location : Australasia

Domain/s: Education, Safety and security

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