Thursday, January 8, 2009

Deaf Teen Wins Discrimination Case

A deaf teenager has won a discrimination case in England. Laura Trudgill says she was so humiliated at Colman Middle School (now Coleman Junior) in Norwich during “sports day” that she had to leave the school. The 13-year-old was mocked for standing and running at the wrong times and otherwise performing activities improperly. Trudgill could not hear the teachers telling her she was doing things wrong. No interpreter was provided to help her understand what was expected of her despite the fact five staff members are qualified signers.

Teachers had divided the 240 students into teams of 24 and randomly placed nine deaf students among the groups without providing them a way to understand the complicated rules for activities including running a mini assault course and throwing balls at hoops. Trudgill's parents sued with the help of the National Deaf Children's Society. It’s the first time the group has won a case like this.

The special education needs and disability tribunal ruled that the teen was unlawfully discriminated but the panel of experts declined to impose punishment since the school agreed to changed its proceedures in the future.

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