The story is heartbreaking and stands for many similar instances: It’s about a disabled girl, who is refused to go to one of London’s top state schools in 2010 because her wheelchair takes up too much space (Bhandhukravi). However, the school’s prospectus suggests something entirely different:
Harris is an inclusive school, which admits students with disabilities and special needs on an equal basis with other students. The Academy has installed lifts, disabled access ramps and wheelchair facilities. As a result, disabled students, including those in wheelchairs, have full access to the curriculum. (Prospectus 10)
Though once you are allowed to a school as a disabled child, you are not necessarily fully “included”. Dale DiLeo discusses this on his blog Ending Disability Segregation. In his post, he highlights how “included” does not just mean being in the same physical space, but also that the disabled person can fully participate. For example, a disabled student in a gym class who waits besides the teacher and helps organising the class is not fully “integrated”. Furthermore, the child does not even quite belong to the class because he or she does not participate, but only assist.
DiLeo mentions also another example:
[E]ight workers with disabilities from a sheltered workshop are given space in a business location where they can continue their sheltered work, but are now considered “integrated” because they work at a real business building. [...] [T]he workshop highlights its integrated supported employment program. But are these [school and workshop] examples of real inclusion? No, not at all. This is merely token inclusion, but these examples can make people believe that these types of approaches are useful ways to diminish segregation. (DiLeo)
- Bhandhukravi, Alice. “Parent fights ‘segregation’ school in Crystal Palace.” BBC 22 Nov 2010. Web. 20 Nov 2012.
- DiLeo, Dale. “Token Inclusion: A Dangerous Perversion.” Ending Disability Segregation 23 Oct 2012. Web. 20 Nov 2012.
- “Proespectus.” Harris City Academy Crystal Palace. 30 Aug 2012. Web. 20 Nov 2012.