The Educator Weekend wrap: A ‘digital divide’, top school under fire and special needs kids at risk

by The Educator16 Jan 2016
Making news this week, teachers warn of a digital divide, a top school is accused of discrimination and special needs students at risk.

On Monday, the NSW Teachers’ Federation (NSWTF) warned that the Federal Government’s refusal to fund the final two years of Gonski would create a “digital divide” that will worsen equity issues in the nation’s schools. NSWTF acting deputy president, Denis Fitzgerald, told the Sydney Morning Herald that the BYOD (Bring-Your-Own-Device) scheme may become “a rather sad and ironic term” in that children will bring only what their family can afford.
In other news, an elite Queensland school came under fire for allegedly discriminating against a bullied student with a mental illness by requesting that her mother remove her from the school. The Brisbane Girls Grammar School (BGGS) student had attention deficit disorder when she began at the school but claims she was then bulled and developed mental health problems which caused her to disengage from her learning. However, the school denied all allegations of direct discrimination based on the girl’s mental health impairment, adding it offered her a range of options to continue her studies at BGGS.
Finally, research conducted by Flinders University found that special needs students are being bullied at an increasing rate. The study surveyed nearly 2,000 students aged 11-16 in seven mainstream schools across the three school sectors. It revealed that more than a quarter of the 172 students who identified as having “limitations, impairments or special needs” reported being bullied at least once a week, compared to one-in-five of the remaining participants. They were also more likely to be targeted by bullies “most days or every day of the week”, at a rate of 8.4% compared with 5.4% for other students.