Written with extracts translated from The Tokyo Shimbun
March 19th 2020
YOKOHAMA – A legal challenge by the parents of a child with a severe disability, seeking to send their son, Kazuki Kosuge, aged 8, to an elementary school in Kawasaki City was rejected by the Yokohama District Court on March 18.
The Yokohama District Court, Judge Hiroshi Kawamura, rejected the request on the 18th, saying that the judgments of the prefectural and municipal boards of education could not be said to be invalid.
According to the plaintiffs’ defense team, after the Disability Discrimination Law, which prohibits discriminatory treatment based on disability, came into force in 2016, it is the first lawsuit to question the administrative illegality over choice of school.
Judge Kawamura pointed out that “inclusive education”, which involves learning with or without disabilities, does not exclude education at special needs schools. It meets Kazuki’s educational needs and provides a safe learning environment.
The School Education Law Enforcement Ordinance stipulates that parents’ opinions will be heard when deciding on a place of study, and the plaintiffs claimed that “the intentions of the person and guardian are the most important factor.”
Kazuki uses a respirator for his congenital myopathy, an incurable disease.
According to the complaint, when looking for an elementary school in April 2016, both parents preferred a local Kawasaki municipal elementary school, but the City Board of Education informed them that they would be enrolled in a special support school in the prefecture as “professional education is appropriate.” The parents submitted their doctor’s certificate, which was appropriate for a local special needs class, but the decision remained unchanged.