Lib Dem lead Highland Council has been criticised for cancelling a school trip. Each year children the Crown Primary School in Inverness would go and stay at an activity centre in the Cairngorms. But last month the trip was cancelled to avoid legal action over the exclusion of a disabled child.
The Council told the school to cancel because of the potential legal action. It should be acknowledged the threat was actual rather merely theoretical. Donna Williamson, the girl's mother, had specifically complained about a breach of the Disability Discrimination Act. So the Council officers did what council officers do if allowed to. They went for the risk averse option, the option of greatest administrative convenience to themselves. They told the school to cancel the whole thing.
If all the children can't benefit equally then don't let anyone have any benefit at all. A victory for fairness. The Disability Discrimination Act shows its teeth. The girl's mother was concerned about the "psychological" to her child by the trip going ahead and her child filming some of the activities she couldn't take part in. If I was the disabled child I would feel much worse about the whole thing being cancelled. Another parent wonders if music lessons will be next for the chop in the drive for equality and inclusion.
There is some source of hope in this miserable story. The Lib Dem MP Danny Alexander has attacked his Council for being "overzealous." Rather than praising the Council, the Equality and Human Rights Commission saying that in taking "the easiest option" the decision "may not have been proportionate."