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Wednesday 20 August 2014

Mum's viral video shames students that didn't invite daughter with Down Syndrome to school dance

Denise Calnan

Published 08/12/2013 | 13:58

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When Josie Webster, a 16-year-old Australian girl with special needs, wasn’t invited to her school dance her mother made a revenge video.

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“She may not get to dress up and dance,” Josie’s mother Julie posted on the video, “but... I will continue to dance with her, even if no-one else does.”

Julie found out on Facebook that her daughter, who has Down Syndrome, wasn’t invited to attend the lavish school dance.

Josie has never let her special needs hold her back in life. She plays drums and has travelled to Uluru in Central Australia, been jungle surfing in Queensland and crawled through the underground war tunnels of Vietnam.

But Josie was one of four special needs students in the year that were not invited to the Year Ten school formal.

Neither Josie nor her mother Julie even knew there had been a school dance on until they saw the photos online the next day.

Ironically, the proceeds from the ticket sales were going to fund the Engadine High School special needs unit where Josie is among a number of students with ‘mild’ or ‘moderate’ learning difficulties.

"She was devastated," Julie Webster told news.com.au.

School principal, Joanne Jarvis, refused to comment, although she has sent an email to Mrs Webster saying the school had no involvement in the party.

Julie has since made a video about her daughter’s life showing how a disability has never held her back.

"Josie has done many great things in her life, but she and the other children of the support unit were not worthy enough to receive an invitation," Mrs Webster wrote.

"On the day of Nelson Mandela's passing, one of the greatest activists of all time against prejudice and hatred, bigotry is alive and well ... society needs to wake up!

"This is a mother's acknowledgment of my daughter's achievements.

"She may not get to dress up and dance.

"But her life is more of a dance than most.

"I will continue to dance with her, even if no-one else does.”

The video has gone viral online.

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