Deborah Plays Netball

Deborah plays netball

Deborah wants to play in the school netball team. She has a cognitive disability and needs support to follow verbal instructions. The captain of the team doesn’t know about her disability and repeatedly embarrasses her at netball practice by saying she is ‘not listening properly’.

Deborah’s mother meets with her teacher and explains that Deborah feels harassed at practice because of the way the captain speaks to her. One option they discuss is that Deborah switch to the athletics squad where there will be fewer complex instructions. However, this might be considered victimisation because, as a result of raising the concern, Deborah would be unable to participate in her preferred sport. Instead, they agree that the teacher will investigate the alleged behaviour and discuss it with the netball captain if necessary. The teacher also decides that all sports captains should attend a session on the school’s anti-bullying policy and be regularly reminded of their responsibility to keep their teams free from harassment and victimisation. The school subsequently decides to extend these sessions to all students in leadership roles.