April 29, 2011
A Victorian family who sued the Department of Education for discriminating against their disabled son have been ordered to pay legal costs after losing their court battle.
Paige Walker claimed her now 16-year-old son Alex, who has Asperger's Syndrome, was not allowed to attend his country Victorian secondary school full-time during 2007.
She alleged the education department discriminated against Alex by preventing him from staying at his primary school during recess and lunchtime, not allowing him to attend school excursions and preventing him from attending high school during third term in 2007.
Alex, who also has dyslexia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, was also not permitted to travel on the school bus, which meant an 80-kilometre return trip for his mother to take him to Baimbridge College, at Hamilton, from their home in Branxholme.
The claim related to Branxholme-Wallacedale Community School, which Alex attended in 2005-06 and his secondary school Baimbridge College, which he attended in 2007-08.
But, in March, Federal Court justice Richard Tracey found the education department did not discriminate against the family.
Yesterday, Justice Tracey ordered the Walker family pay the department's legal costs.
Lawyers for the Walker family made no submissions on the awarding of costs.
Rejecting the discrimination claim, Justice Tracey said Baimbridge College gave careful consideration to Alex's needs. He said a transition plan was developed by the school and Alex's family.
The plan made provision for Alex to be accompanied by a dedicated aide and for him to be introduced progressively to the school's educational program, Justice Tracey said.