Teen sues school, govt for failure to provide special needs education

sue-bullyPETALING JAYA: A teenager, diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), has filed a suit against his school and government for failing to provide good-quality special education for him.

The 19-year-old boy also claimed the school had failed to protect him from being bullied by other students.

“The school does not have the facilities and system to categorise disabled students based on their learning disabilities.

“For instance, autistic students are generally labelled as students with learning difficulties, without focusing on their needs,” he said.

He pointed out that he was placed in a classroom (5DTP2), based on the school’s discretion without checking what his learning difficulties were.

The boy is a disabled (OKU) card holder and cannot be named for legal purposes.

He claimed the school and government had the responsibility to provide a safe and comfortable environment for his learning and were tasked to ensure the teachers and support staff were trained in handling special education classes.

The teenager and his adopted mother named Sekolah Menengah Pendidikan Khas Vokasional Seksyen 17 in Shah Alam, its headmaster Sazali Mohd Karli, the education ministry and government in the suit, filed on May 26, according to court documents obtained by FMT.

The boy, who also has Asperger’s Syndrome, alleged he was bullied three times last year by his peers in the school’s hostel.

“On May 17, a student from the same dormitory as me came to my bed and tied my legs to the bed, and subsequently punched me in my sleep. I was screaming in agony because of the pain.

“The next month (June 21), I was again assaulted during prayer times after I ignored a student for spitting on me,” he said.

The teenager also detailed another assault on Aug 26, when he fell and suffered head injuries after being pulled from behind while praying.

His adopted mother filed numerous complaints about the bullying incidents and even attempted to meet the school authorities but to no avail.

“The bullying incidents have caused me to suffer physical injuries and mental stress,” the boy said.

The teenager is seeking general and aggravated damages from the school.

He is also seeking a court declaration that he has the legal right, under Article 12 of the Federal Constitution, to obtain special education based on his needs as well as a declaration that a failure to implement a system to categorise special needs students, based on their syndrome, is a breach of Article 12 and also Section 28 of the Persons with Disabilities Act.

Meanwhile, the school and government, in their defence filed on July 24, said the school was tasked with providing education for special needs individuals under the ministry.

“The studies are aimed at giving a chance to special needs students to excel in vocational skills and obtain a Sijil Kemahiran Malaysia certificate.”

The school said placing the students in specific classes was not based on their needs but was according to their interests and capabilities.

The school said the dormitory assault on May 17 last year had been settled amicably.

“A teacher and an assistant heard screams from the boy’s room and went to see what was happening.

“The teacher and assistant saw the boy and other students accusing one another,” the school said.

The school denied any earlier knowledge of the June 21 mosque assault and said although a police officer came to the school to investigate, no prosecution took place against the culprits.

“For the Aug 26 incident, we took him to the clinic for treatment after he complained of head injuries,” they said.

High Court judge Justice Nik Hasmat Nik Mohamed fixed Oct 6 as the next case management date after the boy and his school failed to reach a settlement today.