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Children being denied right to education by abuse of Short School Days – Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD

5 September, 2019 - by Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD

Sinn Féin Education spokesperson Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire has expressed his anger at reports that a quarter of children with disabilities were being sent home early from school.

The findings, contained in a report published by Inclusion Ireland and the Technological University of Dublin found that such short school days were often being imposed on children despite the wishes of parents and caregivers.

Teachta Ó Laoghaire said;

“Using, or in reality abusing, the short school day procedure to send children with disabilities home is denying them their right to an education. It is denying them their ability to fulfill their full potential and it is a scandal.

“In many instances, children have been put on short school days for consecutive periods of weeks on end, for several years, and without any real medical reasons, at times against their parents wishes. In some instances, children have been marked as present despite only attending for a few minutes a day.

“This is not what is intended for the provision to allow for this. Clearly, there needs to be a good medical or educational reason for providing these short school days. These children are being failed. They are being made to feel unwelcome, uncomfortable, and isolated.

“The schools in question need to change this behaviour, and put in place better policies to deal with children with disabilities.

"There is a need for a much more active role from TUSLA and the Educational Welfare element of that, as well as clearer guidance and regulation from the Department of Education.

“Minister McHugh and his Department cannot simply sit by and allow children's right to an education to be frustrated.”

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