Please find the text of the European Commission as it was forwarded to the European Parliament to avoid the necessary Inclusion of children with disabilities into the European School, its
an example for discrimination against people with disabilities:
Petition by Wasilios Katsioulis (Greek and German), on the lack of support for pupils with physical and mental disabilities in the European schools
1. Summary of the petition
The petitioner is the father of an autistic son who has been excluded from schooling at a European School in Brussels. He refers to the serious problems encountered by EU employees who are parents of children with learning disabilities because of the lack of adaptations (not "facilitities") at the European Schools to support the inclusion (not "integration") and full participation of these pupils in the social process (not "educational process"). He also points out that the European Schools do not offer any alternative solutions for children who cannot be included (not "integrated") into a school for all (not "general classes"), but merely suggest that the children concerned be included (not "integrated") into the same language class of their origin (not "educational structure of their country of origin"), which indirectly means that the officials concerned either have to leave their jobs with the EU institutions or live apart from the family members who are obliged to reside in the country of origin (unwilling seperation of families!). The petitioner therefore calls on the European Parliament to deal with this pressing issue and ensure that the European Schools have sufficiently specialised staff in the method ABA and TEACCH and the infrastructure required to give learning- disabled and autistic children with special educational needs an inclusion as demanded by article 24 UN CRPD for All schools worldwide (not "high level of education").
Declared admissible on 12 January 2010. The Commission was asked for information (Rule 202(6) of the Rules of Procedure).
3. Commission reply, received on 25 March 2010.
· 'The petitioner's son, aged 9, was enrolled from 19 January 2009 at the European School (ES) in Woluwé, in the first primary class, DE section, in a class with 12 pupils. The child, presenting major behavioural problems in case that the environment is untrained and unknowledged in regard of the method ABA - what is only the case at the European School -, had previously attended a integrative ("not a special school") in Hamburg.
· In October 2008 a SEN (Special Education Needs) agreement was signed on a trial basis (this was unclear) by the parents and the school, setting out how the child was to be accommodated in the school. The necessity of ABA was discussed in many meetings before WK started his employment at the European Parliament since August 2008. The parents insist that ABA is necessary adaptation for the child
· The child did not start school until January 2009, as time was needed to make appropriate arrangements to accommodate the child, i.e. the recruitment of two German-speaking specialists and the provision of an area in the class to enable the child to be alone if he so needed. The European School has no available personal reserve for disabled pupil what proves that the European Schools SEN program is only a cosmetic integrative program for disabled children, but not a program which is able to fulfill the obligations of article 24 of the UN convention on the rights of persons with disabilities.
· The child was three years older than the pupils in his class, whereas the ES regulation normally sets the maximum admissible age difference at two years. The schools rules need to be adapted to the obligations of article 24 UN CRPD
· Under the SEN agreement signed with the parents the child was to attend school on a regular basis, with an adapted educational programme of three hours of classes per day. The contracts of the SEN agreements are of discriminatory character as parents who refuse to sign these "agreements" need to expect disadvantages as the withholding of needed disability adaptations!
· The SEN Advisory Group of the Woluwé school held a review meeting on 30 April 2009, during which the Advisory Group (no ABA specialist at the European School available) concluded that the school was not able to continue to accommodate the child and decided that an alternative solution needed to be sought. The head of the school forwarded his decision to exclude the child to the parents. Correct is, that my child was socially included in the school as we received many times friends of him in our house, but the school was not willing to provide the necessary adaptation ABA!
- The petitioner lodged an appeal with the ES Board of Appeal. On 31 August 2009 the Board of Appeal rejected the appeal and considered that the arguments, including those relating to discrimination, were unfounded'.The court was not specialized in disability matters, and it was not forseen to go to a next instance to correct the big errors of the first instance: the court were not aware about the needed disability adaptation ABA and thought for this reason, that the untrained social pedagogues would fulfill the needs of an autistic child which shows in this case missbehaviour: with ABA this is not the case!
Commission's comments on the petition
- Integrating children with special needs into European schools The European Commission do not understand that article 24 UN CRPD demands "Inclusion" and not "Integration"
Integrating children with special needs into European Schools is something by which the Commission sets great store. This is untruthfull, as there is no one case of autistic or learning disabled children at the European School! The SEN program is NOT matching the real needs of children with learning disabilities which is shown by the fact that NO ONE of this group is part of the school!
This is stressed in particular in the external report evaluating the SEN programme submitted to the Board of Governors in April 2009 following a study commissioned by the Board of Governors and financed by the European Parliament: No participation of disabled experts in whole procedure: nore on the side of the experts neither on the side of the European Commission or the European Parliament. The quota of dislexic or ADHS pupil, which are the only disabled pupil at the European School is around 2 per cent against an average of 7 to 8 percent of disabled children in the European Population. The gap of 5 to 6 per cent needs to be seen as discrimination by the European School and the European Commission as the responsible Institution of this school!
'… Within the Administrative Boards, for instance, the Commission insists on the fact that there is no ceiling on the SEN budget of a European School. The Commission makes sure that all the necessary budget(s) for the SEN hours considered necessary by the School in question will be put at its disposal in order to cover the needs of the SEN pupils'. Fact is that the European School declined to provide the necessary autism adaptation ABA to my son, for this reason his inclusion failed, despite the fact that the European Parliament (not the Commission neither the school) was willing to finance this necessary disability adaptation! The European Parliaments Budget Control Commitee should check if the amounts provided by European Tax Payers have been really invested into disability adaptations as the amount of more than 3.5 Million Euros seem to be to high only for 400 dislexic children (which are the only group of "disabled" children at the European Schools)
Several European Schools, including Woluwé, were visited by the Swedish experts to assess how SEN children were being accommodated. The current concept of integration is not fulfilling the obligations of the UN CRPD, the "experts" (no one of them were disabled themself) have reviewed the school on the old basis of integration and not on the new concept of inclusion (article 24 UN CRPD). The results are therefore not state of the play. If disabled experts would be integrated into such expertise such errors wouldnt happen. It will be also necessary to employ more experts with disabilities in the European Commission as the petitioner has the impression that the current servants are not really aware of the current discrimination of parents with disabled children!
The Commission stresses that pupils' integration involves their participation in class activities with other children. (Commissions statement proves that the European Commission is not aware of the obligations of the UN convention on the rights of persons with disabilities and this is caused by the fact that disability experts with a disability are currently not employed at the European Commission in a grade which is necessary to realize the needed inclusion of disabled people into the European Society)
The evaluation report points out that:
'The main objective of the SEN programme in the European Schools is to ensure that the SEN pupils are able to participate actively in mainstream education and in the common activities of the year group and class, according to their abilities and with appropriate support. There should be some guaranteed minimum active participation of the child in collective cognitive activities.' (old and invalid concept which is not based on the UN CRPD) The focus today is that disabled and non disabled children stay together - social inclusion - even if they are not learning together!)
'… The principle of paramount importance is and must remain integration into the normal year group. It is absolutely essential that this integration should be conducive to the cognitive and psychosocial development of the pupils concerned, with the possibility of subsequent education and training in prospect.' (old concept of integration)
This notion of pupils' integration and participation is also set out in the regulation on the integration of SEN pupils into the ES which states that: (the SEN agreements are not needed unter the UN CRPD as it is not allowed anymore to discriminate pupil on the basis of their disability!)
'… the School has to be able to make appropriate provision for their pedagogical and social integration. (if the school is not using appropriate adaptations for autistic children, like ABA, this goal is impossible!) If this is not the case, the School is entitled to declare itself incompetent and to recommend that the parents seek an alternative solution for their child's education, in an establishment better suited and equipped to meet his/her special needs. In those circumstances, the School assists the parents as far as reasonably possible.' (exclusion of pupil on the basis of their disability is strictly forbidden under article 24 UN CRPD! This means that the school and the European Commission acts illegal !)
- The findings of the Board of Appeal
As regards the decision by the Woluwé European School not to continue to accommodate the petitioner's child, the findings of the Board of Appeal clearly state that the ES cannot be competent to manage all disabled children's circumstances, as the following extracts show:
'The Convention defining the statute of the ES, done at Luxembourg on 21 June 1994, was drawn up for the education together of children of the staff of the European Communities in order to ensure the proper functioning of its institutions … The appellant takes this to mean that the children of Community employees have a subjective right of admission to schools and that schools should take the measures needed for their education in line with the needs of the school. Such a conclusion is not, however, borne out by the text of the Convention or the text of the general regulation published by the Board of Governors … or by the further regulatory development represented by the document on the integration of pupils with special needs into the European Schools …'. (when the Board of Appeal announced its decision the UN CRPD were not in force, for this reason this statement to the members of the petition committee is here in the wrong place!)
… Education is offered as a possibility and is not mandatory in contrast to national systems which have to accept and integrate all pupils of school age in order to satisfy their fundamental right to education; as a result, Community staff do not have to educate their children in a European School and the School is not obliged to offer all the options available in a national system to ensure that no child of school age is excluded from the system …(when the Board of Appeal announced its decision the UN CRPD were not in force, for this reason this statement to the members of the petition committee is here in the wrong place!)
… Too great a proportion of individual tuition is yet another form of exclusion, marking out the pupils in question as different and stigmatising them (SEN regulation).(when the Board of Appeal announced its decision the UN CRPD were not in force, for this reason this statement to the members of the petition committee is here in the wrong place!)
… integration depends on the severity of the case and on the resources available to the school, which may declare itself incompetent to take on a responsibility which it would be unable to discharge.(when the Board of Appeal announced its decision the UN CRPD were not in force, for this reason this statement to the members of the petition committee is here in the wrong place!)
... The "SEN Advisory Group" can propose that education in the European School be discontinued in the absence of clear progress or because of the student's inability to integrate into school life and can recommend that an alternative educational solution be sought …'.(when the Board of Appeal announced its decision the UN CRPD were not in force, for this reason this statement to the members of the petition committee is here in the wrong place!)
- UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities and the European Schools system
The petitioner refers to Article 24 of the Convention concerning education which states:
'States Parties recognize the right of persons with disabilities to education. With a view to realizing this right without discrimination and on the basis of equal opportunity, States Parties shall ensure an inclusive education system at all levels and lifelong learning … In realizing this right, States Parties shall ensure that: (a) persons with disabilities are not excluded from the general education system on the basis of disability, and that children with disabilities are not excluded from free and compulsory primary education, or from secondary education, on the basis of disability.'
The Commission stresses that the entry into force of this UN Convention does not mean that every school has to accept all children whatever the special needs arising from their disability, but that the general education systems of states should include a schooling option for all cases. The European Commission is not on the state of play of the discussion between people with disabilities in regard of their inclusion into the European Society as it employs only few persons with disabilities!
The ES are not a full general education system comparable to a national general education system which has the duty to provide education for all children. The ES are ordinary (and not specialist) schools which offer conventional academic education leading to the European baccalaureate and providing access to higher education. The ES do not therefore offer vocational or technical education, secondary education leading to other secondary qualifications, high-level sports education, etc. Especially the fact that the exclusion of disabled children leads to extraordinary disadvantages and discrrminations against children and the employment of officials with disabled children leads to the additional obligation of the European Commission to build up urgently an inclusive environment for ALL children and to fulfill also the obligations of the UN convention! It is not reasonable and harms the European Union that discrimations happen in the name of the European Commission against parents with disabled children !
- Particular circumstances of the petitioner's child
The Commission has given the case of the petitioner's child its full attention and there have been many exchanges and a meeting between the petitioner and the Commission.(untrue: only one meeting in regard of the political goal of the petitioner, the Commission has not provided any concrete help or any financial aid to compensate any demage resulting of the non adapted European School and the following exclusion: the petitioner still waits for the compensation of more that 16.000 Euro, which the Commission declines categoric). The petitioner strongly recommends to the European Parliament to exchange all staff in regard of the European School on the level of its Management and on the level of the responsible units at the European Commission to allow a new beginning under the obligations of article 24 UN CRPD. The petitioner do not believe that it is easy for a person who signes responsible for more that 30 years of exclusions to change behaviour after UN CRPD is in force now!
When the school decided that it could no longer continue to educate the child, the Commission's services and the European Parliament's social service coordinated their efforts to help the family to find an alternative solution.(untrue: the child where without any schooling between April 2009 till January 2010 as the European Commission declined any responsibility or aid to the petitioner or his family. Demages are not covered till TODAY!)
One of the problems raised by the child's education in Belgium in a specialist school able to meet the requirements arising from his medical condition is the fact that the child's main language is German. For that reason the services contacted the German-speaking Belgian education network. As a result, a special school for autistic children was found in XXXX, in the eastern cantons, in Belgium's German-speaking community. (untrue: the European Commission has done NOTHING to assist the petitioner or the European Parliament to assist in this delicate situation: it is a shame for a European Institution to act in such a discriminatory behaviour!)
This school which, among others, uses the ABA method which the parents wanted (untrue: the school only uses the TEACCH method which is not fitting to the needs of an autistic child with tendency to misbehaviour!!!) the European Commission has , can accommodate their son who could board there. The details were passed on the petitioner. The child's best interest is served by education in the school best able to meet his needs. The best interest of the child is to stay in an inclusive European School which is ready to provide the necessary adaptation ABA and to stop the unwilling seperation of the whole family!
Contrary to the petitioner's allegations, the increase in the number of SEN pupils (457 in the 2008/09 academic year in comparison with 274 in 2004/05, i.e. 2.11% of all pupils), and the increase in the number of cases requiring a very high level of care (24 in 2008/09 and only 10 in 2007/08) shows that schools are finding more ways of integrating children with more serious disabilities. Gap of 5 to 6 per cent proves discrimination against disabled children at the European Schools! The Commission ensures that all the financial resources that they need are made available to schools. The commission do not need to ensure the financial support of 3,5 Million - which is done by the Parliament - but needs to ensure that EACH child with a disability will get ITS necessary disability adaptation, what was not the case in regard of my son (missing ABA)!
The ES are taking all reasonable measures to integrate children with special needs as a result of a disability but cannot meet needs in every situation. The ES may therefore declare themselves unable to deal with particular cases, as was the case with the petitioner's son, despite the real efforts that the school had made to integrate the child. The fact that the Commission deals with "Integratin" and not "Inclusion" proves that they act on a wrong basis which leads automatically to exclusions. Inclusion, as foreseen in article 24 UN CRPD, means that no exclusions will happen anymore, nowhere!!
Moreover, the European Parliament's social services, in conjunction with the Commission services responsible for the ES, helped the family to find an appropriate school and financial assistance measures were taken by his employer. (it took more than 8 month to resolve the situation in a bad way, what proves the inefficiency of the Commissions work!)
 Procedure laid down by the 'SEN Regulation', document of the Office of the Secretary-General of the European Schools 2009-D-4710-en-6.
 Appeal 09/14 of 31 August 2009.
 Document of the Office of the Secretary-General of the European Schools, 2009-D-343-en-1.
 ABA is a behavioural method which tries to modify the behaviour of autistic children to allow their socialisation. There have been very different reactions to this method: some enthusiastic, some critical, as it takes the form of training rather than therapy and imposes pressures on the child that can be seen as a form of violence. The method has to be practised on a daily basis for 30 to 40 hours per week if it is to be effective. This decription of ABA is not correct and proves that the Commission has not worked out correctly the needs of autistic children at the European Schools (as there are NO autistic children!)