ACHRA discusses schools
The Australian Council of Human Rights Agencies (ACHRA) met in Adelaide on 18 and 19 October this year to discuss human rights and equal opportunity issues within each state and territory and around the country.
Schools and education were on the agenda at this meeting with disability equality in education, as well as school uniform choice being discussed.
ACHRA members discussed the need for more concerted action to prevent the unlawful exclusion of students with disability from school through seclusion, suspension or expulsion to manage behaviour.
Students with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHA), Autism Spectrum Disorder, and those exhibiting behaviours of concern are most at risk and ACHRA called on all state and territory government and private schools to review their policies on suspension and expulsions to ensure they do not disproportionately affect students with disability.
ACHRA members have seen an increase in enquiries and complaints from girls, or parents on behalf of girls, who have been prevented from wearing shorts or trousers at school and told to wear skirts or dresses as a mandatory uniform requirement.
The Commission referred to a complaining regarding school uniforms in its 2017-18 Annual Report.
ACHRA noted while many schools nationwide have adopted uniform policies allowing choice for female students, others continue to discriminate on the basis of sex.
Age discrimination has also been a valid area of complaint, where younger female students have been allowed to wear pants, but senior students have not.
ACHRA members encouraged all government, private and faith-based schools to review school uniform policies to enable greater choice of formal and informal uniform options, including shorts and long pants, for girls.
To read the full report go to the Commission’s website.
State, territory and federal commissioners at ACHRA