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Josie's mother says she wasn't invited to the formal. This is what the school says in response.

Josie Webster is a disabled student at Engadine high, whose mother says was not invited to her high school formal. Her outraged mother created this video as a response, which quickly went viral. 

Engadine High has responded to the Josie Webster story by releasing the following statement. Written by the school’s principal it suggests a different turn on events.

Dear Parents and Carers,

It may have come to your attention that there has been a significant amount of adverse social media regarding a Year 10 end of year function that was held last week. The claims that have been made have caused significant distress to students and staff.

Out of respect for our students and parents I would like to make a number of clear statements:

• Whilst the school had no role to play in the organisation of the event, we did allow notes to be distributed at school.

• Year 10 students participated in a privately organised and parent-run end of year event.

• These notes were distributed during roll call on three separate occasions. The school has been assured by other Year 10 parents of the Support Unit that they received the notes. The event also had its own Facebook page which was publicly available.

• The organising parents acted in good faith and actively sought to include all students from Year 10 and there was never any intention to exclude students from the event. I also understand that the organisers have offered sincere apologies to the parent who raised the complaint

• Engadine High School ceased holding and organising school-sponsored Year 10 Formals in 2012 in response to the reality that the majority of students return to school and complete their HSC.

• The school was open to any parent enquiry throughout the year in relation to whether a formal would be held.

As an initiative of the parent organising committee, it was decided to raise funds for the Engadine High School Support Unit at the event. This was a demonstration of goodwill and a reflection of the generosity always so evident from our school community.

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Engadine High School is, and has always been, an inclusive learning environment. Embracing our Support Unit students, and those more broadly in need, has always been central to who we are and why we exist as a school. Students with special needs at Engadine High School have always been afforded the same and equal opportunities to participate in all school activities. They attend mainstream roll call each day, Year assemblies, School camps, work experience and excursions. They are represented in the SRC, Sustainability Team, dance ensembles, sporting teams, school band and the recent Schools Spectacular. We are very proud of the inclusive culture that is fostered and valued amongst all staff and students at Engadine High School, and celebrate it every day.

“Engadine High School is, and has always been, an inclusive learning environment.”

The recent unfounded accusations on social media are regrettable and misinformed. It is a shame that the humanity so consistently embodied by the students and staff of our school might be questioned by these claims. We are grateful for the tremendous and ongoing support from our community, ex-students and parent body, including the parents of our Support Unit students. They have rightly felt aggrieved that their children’s regard for their place of security and learning has been challenged, largely by people have little or no understanding of Engadine High School. These parents understand that inclusion has been a cornerstone of their child’s experiences at our school.

Thank you to all parents for your ongoing support and for your part in the many successes that have been celebrated this year. Best wishes to all for a peaceful and relaxing holiday season as we look

Thank you to all parents for your ongoing support and for your part in the many successes that have been celebrated this year. Best wishes to all for a peaceful and relaxing holiday season as we look forward to another great year in 2014.

Ms J. Jarvis Principal

How do you feel about the school’s response to Josie Webster’s situation?

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