A Hunter high school has apologised to a student with multiple disabilities, who wasn’t invited to his year 10 formal, which took place last week.

His mother has accepted the apology, but says the way the community treats the disabled has to change.


  1. I am a student at this high school who is currently in year 10
    for one, you had to pay for a ticket yourself. no one was invited , no one at all.
    secondly , you were only not allowed to go if you were suspended anytime in term 4.
    thirdly most of the kids with disabilities were there. we were all dancing with them at the disco and having fun with them. don’t believe me ? there’s photos to prove.
    lastly, I myself didn’t get a note about the formal on the day they were handed out, as I was sick on the day. but all I had to do was go to the office & get one.

    all this is just a case of miscommunication & I can’t believe that someone would go to the media about this. we all treat kids the same in my year. I know I go to this school, all this does is make my school look bad & make the community talk false about us.

  2. Even if there was no ‘invites’ sent out Maddy, I think something as big as a formal in a school should be monitored to ensure all are involved. It only happens once and to some people it can be important to them.

    If what you’re saying is true, notes should definitely be sent out to ensure everyone has the opportunity to obtain a ticket and enjoy their school life.

  3. I’m With Rowan. All students should be notified whether they are sick, disabled, been suspended, whatever. No excuse for what has happened as it’s not an isolated case.

  4. yeah well notes where handed out , & it was in assembly’s we had year meetings. so don’t go and believe the media if you dot know the truth.

  5. Well done Maddy. I also have a child at this High School and what Maddy is saying is correct. Most schools are not having a Year 10 Formal anymore so this is just a bonus for our children. Even if notes are sent home I’m sure that someone would just use the excuse that it must be “lost in the mail” or “lost in cyber space”. This school definitely does not treat disabled children differently and they are treated fairly.

  6. Maddy , I’m glad you cleared up a few things. My question is … How on earth this young man missed out. I didn’t have a year ten formal. The school (a different one) decided that I wasn’t capable of doing my hsc and wouldn’t let me choose the subjects I needed to do to get into uni. My mother fought and ended up taking me out of that school to enrole at TAFE so I never got to go to my year ten formal. That was 25 years ago and I’m only Deaf.

    This man missed out on year 10 formal. Understandably his mother was upset. The school apologized so they’ve admitted a mistake. The school never apologised to me . He got an apology that his mother accepted on his part.

    Please understand that someone got hurt emotionally and a mother of a child with a disability lashes out. Put yourself in her shoes … For this mum to speak out, how many people said things out of ignorance that caused the mother to stand up. It takes courage. Fact: the young man with a disability missed out on a formal. And that is so sad. How many other able bodies and non disabled people missed out? For us it happens a bit more than you can imagine .

    Thanks for sticking up for the school – the school appologised but this man missed out on a milestone, maybe for him there will be no more formals. He just missed it.

    No one is perfect and this young man missed out.



  7. but no one didn’t let him go. there where plenty of notices. I understand your frustration with your old school but this is taken to far

  8. Maddy when you no all the facts and understand what happened and that he was not discriminated against just forgoten you should have your say, we fight and fight for our son to live as nornal life as he can and this will never stop as long as things dont change and people like reid are overlooked. I wish we never had to feel like he has missed out on anything but with months in hospital at times all of the other things that prevent him from doing things its moments like this that make us so happy to see him happy, Please understand our actions.
    Dave, Reids Dad

  9. what was said is he wasn’t invited. no one was invited we braught our own tickets.

    I know you may be mad because your son missed out. but this isn’t the schools fault. a lot of my friends missed out aswell.

    there where other kids with disabilities there and we all had a good time together.

    maitland high school is not one to count any student out.

    as I said. we had year meetings, notes went out, it was mentioned in assembly’s.

    all this has done is make everyone think different about maitland high & everyone I know who doesn’t go to maitland high is having bad thoughts on our school. it’s made us have a bad name.

  10. Excuse me, but it wasn’t an invitation type of formal. If you weren’t there when the notes were handed oh you go and take the initiative to get one yourself.
    If you had asked the principal he would’ve gladly given you a note. It’s so silly that you’re carrying on like this sabotaging the school.

  11. Wow I just watched the news clip, and you’ve completely contradicted yourself.
    It even says in the clip that it was an administrative error and if you went and got a note it would’ve been sweet. There was absolutely no discrimination whatsoever. There were several other IO students there.
    There is absolutely no reason to bring all of this bad publicity to the school.

  12. There was even a text message sent out about the formal to parents incase any student missed the many notices.

  13. As has already been said. No students were formally invited to the formal. We were told well in advance (a good 2 months) that the formal was coming up. And in the 5 weeks leading up to it, we were reminded again and again. Letters were handed out at school, text messages were sent home, letters were sent out to parents as well. I understand the distress of Reid’s mother, but this, as was said, was an error in the system, not discrimination via the school, staff or students.

  14. Hi folks, I never set out to humiliate the school, Im not sure that some of you understand the situation completely. Reid is in a support unit, whilst this is part of the school it is quite separate to the rest of the mainstream classes. Due to my sons disabilities his communication skills are affected. He cannot write or read. In the 4 yrs he has attended this school he has not formed bonds with mainstream students. His teacher and teacher aide do an amazing job. They ensure he has every opportunity he can within the boundaries of the schools policies. They have a Head Teacher of Special Education that liaises with the staff from the other years. I do not believe that my sons class teachers were completely aware of the details to this formal. Because they were not involved.! There was no communication from the year 10 advisor to the head teacher of the Special Education Unit. The reason his aide didn’t go to the formal or know about this as she was supporting students from the Special olympics. I know his class teacher and aide are as upset about Reid missing out as I am. They are the ones who are in this job for the right reasons, supporting children like my son to do the best they can. Do you now see the segregation I’m talking about? We can learn from this mistake and make a positive change to the way we approach to the situation. Make sure the communication lines are open. Support the special education unit, support the teaches that do an amazing job for them and support our children more than what is presently occurring. At the end of the day this happened and Our children deserve more. I am his voice and if something good can come from this. Well i can move forward and know that although my son missed out. Many others will not. Love n Light Amie Shearman Golledge

  15. I believe that the mother should not have gone to the news and that it is a school matter. It has only give maitland high school a bad rep. I feel sorry for Him and the family but it should have been sorted out between the family and the school. Also that the news has got it wrong, they said that he was ‘not invited’ when In fact no one was invited but it was a miss communication between the school and the mother. I feel very sorry for the family and Reid.

  16. Maitland high and its faculty are amazing in including all students in all endeavors. Media attention is somewhat appealing to some, but in this case its unnecessary. Maitland high has done nothing wrong.

  17. Thanks Amie. Hopefully this ends soon. I just disagree with the segregation comment. Reid does attend school assemblies (where this even has been mentioned and discussed several times) along with his aide and teachers. There are also children in this unit that are in mainstream classes. If you feel so badly treated then maybe you should transfer schools. And heads up, there will be a Year 12 Formal in 2015, probably around December.

  18. I feel like it has been blown out of proportion. I support maitland high the whole way. It wasn’t there fault but on the hand it the family was not to blame either. It was a mix up. But the news should have got it right instead of saying he wasn’t invited like the school did it on purpose.

  19. This has been an unfortunate situation for Reid and his family. I am a parent of a student at the school and one that finished in 2012 (neither with disabilities) and I find it sad that this one event gets a headline when there are so many positive things that the school does for students with disabilities through the IO & MC classes – classes that other schools in the area do not offer. I am sure Reid’s parents appreciate the work that his dedicated teachers do on a daily basis, but to highlight one negative out of all the positives that he would be experiencing at this great school is an injustice. Maybe NBN and the newspapers need to do a story on schools that have disability classes, to make people aware of what is involved with teaching these special needs children and what these kids get from their actual education, instead of making the school a headline for one mistake. Make a positive out of this negative situation that has been created NBN! All you have done is given a bad name to a great school.

  20. I am the grandmother of three disabled children, two with CP and one with autism. I was reduced to tears when I read above article, all children & adults need to feel acceptance by their peers. Not being part of the school community or any community can strip them of any self confidence that they may have achieved. This is firstly achieved through being part of a school community, if achieved this will carry on to their adult life.

  21. I am a student at Maitland High and the year adviser did everything to make sure that everyone was able to attend the formal. There was definitely notes and letters provided to year 10 students, and the special education teachers knew all about the night as some other children with disabilities were there and so were there helpers. It has gotten completely out of hand by putting a bad name out for the school and it’s staff. I understand Reid’s condition but there’s no way Maitland High would deliberately leave one disabled child out from many that attended.

  22. Sadly all of you people leaving negative comments just don’t get the real issue here.

    At no time was Reid’s mother talking about discrimination against her son or putting down the school. She actually speaks very highly of his teacher and aide. As Reid’s voice she was merely making a point that special needs children need to be made apart of the community and their school life.

    She was very saddened by him missing out on his year 10 formal as he actually misses out on so many things in life due to health. Obviously this was an oversight but with notes and text messages Reid’s mother didn’t receive any. As of this function being mentioned at numerous assemblies Reid has a DISABILITY he is unable to convey these things to his mother. Don’t judge people you know nothing about. How would you feel if this happened to you or your child?

    Reid’s grandmother

  23. I’m a year 10 student at maitland high and I’d just like to have my say.
    I’d just like to point out that this is not in any way an example of segregation as it’s been pointed out that the reason Reid didn’t get a letter was because of an administrative mistake. The office intended to send Reid a letter, there was a just a mishap in the office.

    Also if there was no communication between the Head Teacher and the Special Education Teachers then how did the other special ed students find out and attended?

    I think what happened truley is sad and Reid did unfortunately miss out on an important night, but it was not on purpose. It was clearly a mistake by the office and a lack of initiative from the family.

  24. Reid’s mother didn’t tarnish the schools name, the reporter did all of that.
    From what I heard his mother was talking about the community, as in all of us in the real world not just in a school.
    And did everyone oversee the fact that students are throwing him a formal all for him? Lucky boy to have school mates like that.

  25. Well going to the news she has played a part in tarnishing the school name… It was a matter between the school and her. not the entire hunter area and the school…. Yes it is very said that he missed out. But there was plenty of notice just saying.

  26. Well going to the media she has played a part in tarnishing the school name.. It’s should have been a matter between MHS and the family not the hunter area and MHS. Also that there was plenty of notice just saying. I’m sorry for him and the family but there was no need to go to the media. It has only give MHS a bad name in the community.

  27. Also that the media has got it completely wrong saying that he wasn’t invited and stuff like that. It was a mix up. But no the news has made it out like MHS is the bad side.

  28. Hey kidlets, listen up.

    We all understand it was an administrative error and that the kid was overlooked. We know that other kids with disability were there. The thing is, the kid wasn’t able to attend, because nobody knew about it.

    Now, if the kid could talk well and didn’t have a disability, he would have been making unreasonable demands on his mum and dad about hiring a pink Hummer, talking about the outrageous things he would be doing on the last day of school, all that stuff you guys are doing. You know, the stuff all kids do. Except the ones in Special Ed.

    You might argue that ‘all the kids got notes’ – but this kid can’t read. You might argue that he was treated equally to you – but that doesn’t mean he was treated fairly.

    Just think about this. I am standing at the front of a classroom, and one of you guys has a heart attack. I am a trained paramedic. I cross my arms and say ‘Sorry bud, I can’t give you CPR, because it wouldn’t be treating you equally – if I do it for one person, I do it for everyone. And I don’t have time to do that’.

    That is the difference between fairness and equality. It is equal to refuse everyone – it is fair to help the person who needs help.

    Reid, no doubt, will be overlooked by a lot of people in his life. That is what happens in this society. Full kudos to the kid above who said that they were dancing with the kids with disability and having fun – I wish it was the same every day at your school.

    I wrote this story about another girl who missed out on her graduation – I hope you will read it.

    And don’t worry about the school and the bad publicity. That’s just the media beatup, and most of us have forgotten the name of the school already. What is important is that you do not forget Reid and his family and the many other students with disability who you will probably have forgotten six months from now. They will still live in your community, they will still be Australians – but they will not be afforded the same privileges you guys are. I am really glad this mum went to the media, because we don’t talk about this stuff enough.

  29. Spot on Sam (I think Sam’s actually “da woman” though). It’s actually a bit sad reading so many of the comments from students more concerned about the reputation of their school than the fact that their peer has missed out on something that was pretty important to him. And the comments that the school was in no way discriminatory – what do you mean by that and how do you know? If the school decides to communicate the relevant information to you in ways you can absorb and understand then good for you but if it does not bother to accommodate or alter the way it does things to take into account the communication difficulties of a student with disabilities then is that fair on that student? And just because some students with disability made it to the formal does not mean than another student with disability wasn’t treated unfairly in all the circumstances – perhaps the students who were there did not have intellectual impairment and were able to understand and communicate the info to their parents, etc. There’s a thing called “diversity” and it means we are not all the same so just because the shoe fits you doesn’t mean someone else should just have to go barefoot. In this case, it wouldn’t have taken much more than some extra thought and consideration on the part of the school admin to ensure that Reid’s parents knew what was happening and often that is in fact all that it takes. Whatever wonderful things the school may do for their student with disability are commendable but it is as it should be and that is what they are there to do – every student is entitled to a quality education and students with disability no less than other students – but that does not mean they don’t make mistakes and should not be called out on it.

  30. To Sam
    I just read your story. It is well written and enjoyable to read. I think your story makes some good points subtly and in a way that people can understand. Congratulations.

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