By Bruce McDougall Education Reporte, The Daily Telegraph, January 08, 2010 12:00AM
GROWING numbers of students suspended for violence, aggressive behaviour or repeated disobedience have a serious mental disability such as autism.
Families with severely disabled children said they had become the victims of an under-funded school system incapable of adequately providing for special needs.
More than 69,000 students receive long or short suspensions in public primary and secondary schools each year but parents believe a large proportion have a disability and should be helped instead of disciplined.
Principals report increasing numbers of children entering school exhibiting mental illnesses and the number of students with autism has exploded by more than 65 per cent in the past three years.
A NSW Parliamentary inquiry is under way into the education of students with a disability or special needs but mother of two autistic boys Jane Salmon said yesterday it was too little too late and called on state and federal governments to boost special education funding substantially.