Queensland mum sues for $185k over school's ‘discrimination’

A GOLD Coast woman is fighting for her disabled daughter's right to an education, claiming her Catholic primary school discriminated against her because of her crippling anxiety.

Jodie Brindle has sued Brisbane Catholic Education, which runs St Kevin's Catholic Primary School in Benowa, in the Federal Court.

She is seeking $184,000 in damages, including the costs of home-schooling her 11-year-old daughter Savannah, according to her revised statement of claim filed on November 5.

Mrs Brindle claims Savannah went to the school until November 2017, but couldn't return after November 7 when Brisbane Catholic Education allegedly terminated special allowances made for Savannah's mild cerebral palsy and "end-of-school anxiety".

Her disability meant she had learning difficulties and trouble telling time, and became anxious about being abandoned at the end of the school day, the claim states.

The school had previously allowed Savannah to finish school 15 minutes earlier than other students, and be picked up from the school office where she could play with a tablet computer rather than wait in the playground with other kids.

Brisbane Catholic Education argues Mrs Brindle had agreed they would work toward getting Savannah to finish school at the same time as her classmates.

Mrs Brindle argues in her claim that the school never wanted her daughter at their school and alleges Savannah's anxiety worsened after she was left alone in the school grounds after classes ended in 2016.

Brisbane Catholic Education denies Savannah was left unattended on this occasion.

In their defence filed on November 30, Brisbane Catholic Education denies it discriminated against Savannah and has asked the court to dismiss Mrs Brindle's compensation bid.

Brisbane Catholic Education denies teachers or the principal at St Kevin's have breached the Disability Discrimination Act, and argues Savannah had considerable absenteeism while at the school.

The case returns to court for mediation on February 7.



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