11 Nov 2015

Students tell of being bullied for learning problems

5:38 pm on 11 November 2015

Teenagers' stories of being bullied and mistreated by teachers because of their learning problems sparked a standing ovation from MPs today.

The students from Kapiti College were appearing before a parliamentary select committee inquiry into how schools identify and support students with autism, dyslexia and dyspraxia.

The students are from a class set up for children with learning disorders, including dyslexia.

They said such special treatment was unusual, with most teachers and schools refusing to even recognise their disability, let alone help them with it.

Many described bullying by their classmates and teachers.

Things improved when their learning problems were recognised, although for many that did not happen until they reached high school, they said.

Kapiti College teacher Sarah Sharpe from Kapiti College told the inquiry too many schools were failing to recognise children's learning disorders.

The education system needed to change immediately, including screening children for dyslexia at primary school, she said.