Beau Abela. Photo: Craig Abraham
Maris Beck, May 1, 2012
A TEENAGER is suing the Education Department in Victoria because he cannot read, write or count properly, saying he was silenced with medication and teachers blamed his inability to learn on eating doughnuts.
Beau Abela, now 18, claims he was victimised and discriminated against because of his complex learning disability.
Barrister David Hancock told the Federal Court in Melbourne that his client, Beau, did not have the literacy or numeracy skills to get a job. “Instead he sits at home wondering what to do with his life.”
Mr Hancock said that the department had blamed Beau, his family, “even his diet” and had not provided enough help. Mr Hancock contrasted reports from prep and early school years describing Beau as happy, responsible and friendly with later reports of aggression and disengagement. “The longer Beau has been at school, the more his intellectual functioning has actually declined.”
He told the court, presided over by Justice Richard Tracey, that Beau had passed through the system even though he had failed to meet the required academic levels, and despite his father’s repeated concerns.