Anger over Drouin SC's 'discriminatory' Deb threat
 Baw Baw News   By // 17:16, Monday 20 May 2013

drouin secondary by william kulich for warragul citizen

THE MOTHER of a Drouin Secondary College student told to improve their progress score or miss out on their Debutant Ball has labelled the school’s policies as “discriminatory.”

The school’s Progress Score and Co-curricular Activities policy, which came into effect last year, says students with a progress score lower than 50 “cannot participate in co-curricular activities until their progress score improves.”


The progress scores measure a number of areas of student performance.

The mother, who will not be named, told The Warragul Citizen a number of year 10 students will need to improve their score to be able to attend their Deb.

“I spoke to one of the teachers and he confirmed that there are a number of year 10’s that are not allowed to attend the Deb because of low progress scores,” she said.

“I don’t think it’s a question of fairness, rather it is a discriminatory action involving an otherwise happy social milestone occasion for the ‘coming of age’.


“Every young person should be entitled to be presented to the community, not only those with high progress scores.

“At least they should have a choice to want or not want to participate in the Deb.”

Drouin Secondary College spokesperson Rob Monk told The Warragul Citizen he hopes all year 10 students will be able to attend the Deb, but co-curricular activities come after academic achievement.

“At Drouin Secondary College our number one priority is our timetabled curriculum program,” Mr Monk said.

“If a student is not performing well enough in their core timetabled curriculum program we want them to put more time and effort into that, rather than be distracted by co-curricular activities which, for us as a school, have a lower priority.

“If a student is demonstrating they are unable or unwilling to keep up with their core curriculum program why would we let them take on an activity which will take up more of their time and distract them from the main game?

“If the student is unable cope or is choosing not to devote time or effort to the regular curriculum program we need to make sure they don’t take on other activities which will take more of their time or effort.”

Mr Monk said the progress scores were not only about marks.


“Progress score (sic) is about application and engagement in the core curriculum program of the college,” Mr Monk said.

“Most of the progress score is based on effort, behaviour and organisation; all students, regardless of their academic ability can do well in these aspects of school.

“Academic progress does form part of the Progress Score but it is based on assessment of whether students are capable of performing better.”

The mother said the policy could have longer-term implications.

“Perhaps there are many young persons quietly carrying grudges and only the future will show how it affects their lives and our community,” she said.

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40 responses to “Anger over Drouin SC's 'discriminatory' Deb threat”

  1. chris hickey says:

    I think this is discussing, singling out students that may struggle in school work is not acceptable know matter how they try to justify it.

  2. Lachlan Wyatt says:

    This is a brilliant policy to encourage students to stop attending school to cruise through and encourages them to make an effort in class. Furthermore the Deb is an outdated and ridiculous tradition, schools should be removing this as lets face it most year 10 girls are already “introduced to the world” and the Deb is a time consuming and expensive for parents. Students are often encouraged to skip sports and other out of school trainings and competitions for Deb practice! It’s a disgrace

  3. chris hickey says:

    I can honestly see this causing more stress to the student and having the opposite outcome to what they want

  4. Judy Gleeson says:

    Iwould think a social activity such as the deb, would be a great self esteem booster for students who are struggling in certain areas. This is an important part of their formative years and it is so unfair to ban it, why not ban them from a school hours activity…like sport!!!!! Shame on you Drouin High.

  5. Simon says:

    What is their definition of ‘co-curricular’? A large part of the performing arts curriculum of any school that has a decent one is delivered outside of the timetables classes, in ensembles and productions. Do they regard the Arts as part of the ‘core’ curriculum?

  6. David James says:

    Is the student really struggling or is she as Lachlan suggests “just cruising”. If so then the school is justified in using this as an incentive.

    Further this is not a “coming of age” occasion which is when she is adjudged by community standards as reaching the age when she is able to make her own decisions legally & morally

  7. Luke says:

    This is the same as ‘if you don’t go to footy training then you can’t play in the game’. I think it’s a completely fair and reasonable thing to have. People just get angry over anything these days. If your child isn’t putting in the effort at school then maybe you should be looking at helping them out instead of spending your time and effort on complaining.

  8. Anna says:

    Drouin Secondary College’s punitive policy is more likely to discourage the young people in question than to act as an incentive to do better. Mr Monk is quoted as saying “If a student is demonstrating they are unable or unwilling to keep up with their core curriculum program why would we let them take on an activity which will take up more of their time and distract them from the main game?” Answer: Because, if they are unable to ‘keep up’ then isn’t it the school’s job to assist students who are struggling? I would ask ‘What effort is the school putting in to help the students who are struggling with their core curriculum subjects?’ If the students are unwilling to keep up, surely this suggests that they are extremely discouraged and it seems to me that providing them with opportunities to participate in ways other than the classroom or the sports field, may do more to encourage them than being excluded from an important school event will do. They are much more likely to make the effort Mr Monk is looking for if they have a sense of being valued by ‘the school’, so to punish them with this very blunt instrument is simply unkind and probably counterproductive.

  9. Shane (Poker) Murray says:

    Damned if they do, Damned if they don’t.I was diagnosed with ADHD when i was in my forties. If it hadn’t of been for the teachers keeping me in during lunch & constantly forcing me, i probably wouldn’t have learnt the 3 Rs. The long-term implications of missing this are far outweigh by the inability to READ, WRITE & CALCULATE. But, they should not miss the Deb, unless they & the Teachers don’t want to put in the extra effort. Keep them in & teach them during Lunch. I know of several Adults who can’t read or write, they have far more problems than ones who missed out on Debs. These young people are our future, if we have to force the Basics on them, even if this means missing social events, it must be done. Reading these comments, it can be seen that some of the people missed the Basics. I am Very Glad, i missed some social, sports, Lunch times, too be taught the Basics. If these Student are having problems, it up to all of us to help them.

  10. Sarah Heywood says:

    As a mother of a student at DSC, it is not hard to achieve a score of over 50. The 5 areas they are graded on are: Effort, Behaviour, Organisation, Academic Progress and Task Completion. The gradings used are: Needs Attention, Acceptable, Very Good and Excellent.I am quite sure that if a student tried their best, did their homework and didn’t misbehave too much, then a decent score could be achieved. I don’t have a problem with my child missing out on things if she is not behaving/trying etc. Remember, a Deb isn’t compulsary, yet an education and manners will get you a long way in life.

  11. Amy the Ex teacher says:

    Some of you readers are not reading between the lines. This policy is not about marks. It is about effort and behaviour. An earlier comment that ‘Students were entitled’ I could not disagree more! In the workplace if an employee is rude, disrespectful, not doing the required amount of work and not showing any effort in wanting to improve their performance are they ‘entitled’ to a raise? This is the trouble with young people today, everyone is telling them they are entitled to anything they want without any effort on their part at all. I commend DSC for introducing this policy.

  12. Sonia says:

    I have no problem with this policy at all. I have a daughter at the school who is in year 10 and if she doesnt do the work required to do her deb then she misses out. The school are not stupid here they know which students are genuine strugglers. It is not that hard to achieve the 50% score they need. If im correct it is just handing all work in required ( which you dont have to be a top achiever to do, you just have to do it.) On top of this attitude and class behaviour are apart of the score. For goodness sake parents open your eyes to the type of children you are raising if they cant follow simple rules to attend something they want at school how are they ever going to hold down a job with time lines, rules and expectations to achieve?? I applaud the school for this and hope it actually gives the kids something to strive for, dont be the parent to take this challenge away from them, help them to achieve it and give them something to be proud of.

  13. Tom Lyons says:

    I think it is ironic that the year 10s at DSC are currently studying the film ‘Coach Carter’ where similar issues arise…In the movie, the students are not allowed to play basketball until their progress scores are of an acceptable standard. There is similar parental outrage towards the coach but the boys soon learn that basketball is a privilege, not a right. That in order to become a successful person it is important to show respect for oneself by taking responsibility for one’s actions.

  14. Dawn says:

    As an ex aide for Literacy at a local Secondary College, I encountered many different attitudes..The one that stays with with me is the “If I do these sums for today,you will get me more to do tomorrow,so I am not going to do them” Good on the school for expecting ALL the kids to follow the rules….Incidentally the kids that struggled the most were the ones whose parents would not take the time to meet and plan a strategy to help the kids learn. Stop blaming everyone else,take responsibility, teach our kids that you do not get rewarded without effort. There are rules for living that we all have to adhere to ..The greatest gift is a smile from a child who achieves Help them to do that. Ask yourself have you ever seen an adult who does not have the ability to write a Christmas card …How sad is that?…In some cases because nobody made them learn and be accountable.

  15. Cher says:

    For you Who think This Progress score is a good thing. NOT only do you miss out on the Deb you may miss out on LUNCH With this so called Progress score, I can not believe this school is promoting Bulling in the canteen by allowing kids With a high score to pushing in line at the Canteen. This 90+ card ( if your Progress score is at 90)is the worst thing I have ever heard.They also get a nice warm place to sit at lunch!!! This school seams to miss the real world, do they not understand, some kids will never get to 90 but they will suffer depression, they will feel like they are being exclude. This school seams to not care about school unity and working together. They seam to just keep pushing the average kids down. I have kids at the school and My child who has now finished was never picked up to have dyslexia at this school.

  16. Gary Donoghue says:

    To label this as discrimination, borders on ridiculous. If we label setting expectations as discrimination, than every single individual in this country is forever being discriminated against. If one person doesn’t make a sports team, or another person misses out on a job opportunity over another, or the bank can give one person a $200,000 loan but the next person that walks in can only have a $150,000 loan, is that discrimination as well? No, it is reality. Drouin Secondary College is doing the right thing by its students, preparing them for life during and after school. Not everyone is treated equally, not everyone can be treated equally, not everything can receive what everyone else receives, but the person who does receive more is generally the person who has done what is required to reap the benefits, that’s just simply how things are. For every student at Drouin Secondary College to receive a progress score of over 50 is absolutely not impossible. It’s not a ranked system. Anyone can achieve an excellent progress score. The progress score policy is the best policy that has been implemented since VELS came into existance. Unfortunately it’s a lot harder to get an A or a B than it was when even my generation were at school. You can’t just do your best to gain such a grade, you have to be well ahead of the expected level. That isn’t achievable for everyone. However, a strong progress score is achievable for everyone. This policy gives students a goal, something to work towards and something they don’t need to be a genius at to excel in. It’s positive for our students, they can gain an understanding how they are going and how to improve. It also promotes the fact that if you want to achieve something, you need to put in the effort to gain the benefits. Something that seems lost in some of our current crop of youngsters. The more effort and hard work can be rewarded, the better off our whole community will be.

  17. julie says:

    cher from my understanding you suport the school with parents and friends? whats your deal are you all in or all out? Gary your right on. people are taking things out of context. I also have students at this school and I support the school and their decisions as its only going to make a better enjoyable environment for my child. If you dont have trust in the school maybe DSC is not the place for you or your kids. Its in your childs best interests for you to be working as a collective with the school to achieve the best for your child. Looking at the comment thread on FB it shows evidence of the parent who contacted the paper haha

  18. Bev Harris says:

    I don’t know enough about this progress score to made a definite judgement but the way it has been implemented obviously should have been thought out better so as to avoid arousing all this angst and division within the community.

  19. Heidi says:

    – Questionable policy?

    – Education standard requiring a ban from a ‘social’ event to boost progress scores?

    How will a one time race for good progress scores to be allowed to attend a once in a lifetime school event; The Debutante Ball,going to improve overall bad education habits that the teachers on this discussion are talking about?

    How is being socially excluded from a once in a lifetime Debutante Ball affect how those excluded students feel about themselves and what they think of those who are allowed to attend? Big segregation issues here!!!

    On the one side of the debate we have teachers and their supporters who rightfully want the best eductaion for students.

    On the other hand we have a number of people with vision for a fair go for all – The Australian way!!! Allow these young people to participate in this once in a lifetime event!!!!!

    This is not about the school or its teachers, it is about a new policy implemented only a year ago. I had children go through school at DSC and have only the highest regard for the teachers for their support and encouragement. DCS is a great school.

  20. Cher says:

    To Julie, Yes I WAS the deb coordinator and a active member of the PFA until the school started to make decisions that I could NOT agree with…
    The Deb was a great tool for helping bring kids together so that when they move into years 11 & 12 with more confidence and less social angst, BUT this is not the worst thing about the progress score,allowing students to push in ahead of others in the canteen line, looks for all the world to me to be organised bullying, and it is rude and unacceptable behaviour in any public place, this is another thing that the new 90+ card will allow to happen. The new 90+ card (Progress score above 90) will allow students who hold this card to not only get fed first in the canteen but also gives them a special room to use during lunch times while other students have to stay out in the cold, it also will allow students to move around during “surf” (surf is quiet reading time that the school has introduced for all students) this 90+ card based on progress scores is splitting the school into upper and lower students, some children will never attain a progress score of 90+ from my understanding of how the score is obtained, it is at each teachers discretion to assess effort,behaviour, organisation, academic progress and task completed, how can a child in a large class who has special needs ever get to this score ?
    Gary IT would be nice if it was possible for all student to active this but when you are bullied every day in a class and the teacher does not seem to care or do anything to help, do you think this child would be caring about their work or just getting through the day.. I know that the real world is cruel and yes we all don’t make the footy team but its up to us as parent’s to get our kids an education and to keep them safe until they have to join the real world. I hope you never have a child with special needs. I suffer dyslexia and have had to live with this my whole life but no one in the adult world was as cruel as the students at school.

  21. Will Handover-Holland says:

    Lets just call this rule a form of

    What will they think of next?

  22. Ashti Mullen says:

    It seems unfair to say that teachers at DSC do not care or doing anything to help students struggling with social or learning difficulties. The anger towards this policy seems to come from a misguided assumption that teachers do not have students’ best interest at heart. Nothing could be further from the truth. Neither the school nor the teachers are interesting in punishing students but in helping prepare students for the real world and for becoming what they are capable of. These progress reports are written every 5 weeks to give students every opportunity to reflect and improve, the school has strong well being and special needs support measures and teachers will literally bend over backwards to get the best out of students. Entitling students to coast through school without effort or respect does them an injustice. Watching student satisfaction and self-esteem improve as a result of achieving goals reassures me that this policy is sound and effective.

  23. Tina says:

    Some of these students look forward to the DEB nearly all of there high school years and you want to take this away WHY?? When you say that they are UNABLE this does not mean they are not willing or not trying have you ever thought there is another outside problem in there lives that is stopping them from improving in there schooling. The solution is not excluding activities and making these students feel as though they are below others that feeling is not helping there social skills, self esteem possibly depression and sorry to be so blunt but suicidal, you are making them feel as though they are dumb and below others that may be at a higher level academically. If this takes place in my daughters school you would certainly be hearing me from the roof top I just could not believe what I was reading I feel sorry for these students and hope every single parent whether there children are 50%, 60% or 100% you all need to stand together to make the students feel as equal as each other.
    Do incentives not punishments.

  24. Will Handover- Holland says:

    This sort of rules’ by any school in any Australian
    school would be very ‘UN’Australian….
    I thought Australia, with it’s famous ‘Fair Go’ policy
    ended being a ‘Penal Colony’ a long time ago!
    We’re dealing with children here people, not sheep or cattle!
    Maybe thats what the real problem is…!!

    Further more, what about that other 90 percent rule!…. The last time I was allowed the cut in front
    of a buffet line was in Las Vegas!
    How is ‘eating first’ & getting a warm place to curl up just because your smart & a nice kid fair?
    What about the kids who don’t even get a healthy breakfast at home before school!

    Liberty Victoria & A Curren Affair will hear of this!

  25. Will Handover-Holland says:

    “Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey,
    Where wealth accumulates, and men decay:
    Princes and lords may flourish, or may fade;
    A breath can make them, as a breath has made;
    But a bold peasantry, their country’s pride,
    When once destroyed can never be supplied” A few lines from Oliver Goldsmith’s poem….”The Deserted Village”

  26. Anna says:

    Is it really true that some students have ‘90+ cards’ which entitle them to be served at the canteen before others who’ve been waiting in line? This used to be called (‘pushing-in’). Is the canteen staffed by volunteers? Were these workers consulted before they were required to implement this unfair policy??? I agree with Will – this policy is un-Australian. What are kids learning today?? The old Australian ideas of ‘the fair go’ and ‘mateship’ have been thrown over by the winner/loser mentality our children (and many of their parents) have absorbed from American movies, so-called reality tv shows, and the internet. So the lesson for today is: if you want to be a winner, don’t pick-up the ones beside you when they stumble, instead pick-on them, ridicule them, kick them while they’re down, because you’re a winner and they are losers. What about developing a bit of generosity of spirit and mentoring skills in the excellent students, by organising coaching sessions where high achievers who are willing and able, can assist other students to get a grasp on whatever they are supposed to be learning. This would take more time and effort by staff and by the students, but surely some of them would see some value in such an approach.

  27. steph says:

    i am a student for DSC and i believe this polices it unfair, last year when i did my deb and the year before that, we had to get at least 3-4 years 9s or 11s to fill in because year 10 boys that wanted to do their deb could not due to being below 50 on their progress score. and the new 90+_ card is even worse, they are trying to allow them to get their own cafe line and a room for hem at lunch or recces when the rest of the school is left out in the cold. i have talked to teachers about opening up a room for students on cold days, and they do on the rare occasion. i was told it was too hard to open a room up, but now the 90+ kids get a room its unfair, to me this school is starting up a high class and a lower class, the 90+ students get , their own cafe line,a room at lunch and recces, freed to leave the room with out a red pass and to leave surf. and then the over 50 kids get to do all camps and their deb and the lowest class is below 50 and they get nothing it is pure discrimination.

  28. Will Handover-Holland says:

    This form of ‘ELITISM’ is unexceptable in a ‘public school’…any school!!

    It will lead to ‘Academic Genocide’
    and all these kids should have a
    ‘FAIR GO’as they have their whole life ahead of them.

  29. Will Handover-Holland says:

    DHS Website “Rewrite tomorrow, one child at a time”

  30. julie says:

    its the same handful/ small network of people who keep writing on here and facebook bagging the school out with their same opinions. I dont think this handful of parents/students can change EVERYONE elses opinion. I think they should give up. The school has 9/10 people supporting them.

  31. Judy Gleeson says:

    No matter what excuses DSC and their supporters put forward, the ruling on the Deb requirement is absolutely wrong on so many levels.

  32. Allie Rose says:

    I was a student at DSC and completed year 12 last year, and I have to say that the progress score policy is one of the best ones in the school. Its is a great incentive to encourage students to get organised, complete and submit homework on time, and improve behaviour in the classroom and in the yard.
    There is no reason why students can’t achieve a progress score above 50, it isn’t rocket science. If you don’t behave inappropriately and distract others, and also do the tasks given on time, it is quite easy to achieve your goal and therefore reap the benefits: that being the participation in co-curricular activities such as the deb. The deb is a privilege, and like any other benefit has to be earned. It is not being taken away from students, some just don’t make the effort to try and behave and therefore do not get to participate, and if the student chooses to be like that then so be it. If the deb meant so much to them they would try to get an adequate progress score so they can participate and have a fun night.
    It is not discrimination against a higher or lower class, as there is no classes. We are not in the 1800s people!! The scores are based on organisation, effort, behaviour, submition rates for homework and academic progress (meaning, has the student improved since last time, which they should naturally as they escalate through the year). I disagree with the introduction of the 90+ card and those benefits, that is a little over the top (maybe reward them with something a little less luxurious like a café voucher or ARCC award), but this is not a reason to suddenly view progress scores as a bad thing.
    I salute DSC for taking an interest in the education and future potentials of these kids, they need someone to believe that they can reach for the stars in whatever they choose to do, that along with the progress scores is the kind of encouragement they need to help them succeed.

  33. Simon Craig says:

    You discriminated against other schools when you decided to send your children to Drouin Secondary. Why was that

    Kids with low progress scores will be discriminated against when they try to find a job after completing school won’t they? If they have poor results to show employers they will look back on their school years with regret and wish they had worked a little harder.

    Seems like the school is only interested in helping these students improve. A low bar produces low results. You have to admit, 50% is pretty low. A high bar gives them something to strive for. The school enjoys a very good reputation in this region. I have spoken to students who went to Drouin Secondary and they have high praise for it. When my kids start going to Secondary school, Drouin Secondary will be high on my list.

    People who complain about discrimination don’t know the true meaning of the word.

  34. Roger Marks says:

    I am not surprised that all these so called “educational experts” come out of the woodwork, who have this idea that they know better than trained and highly professional staff.

    A teachers lot is not a happy one with parents complaining at the slightest whim and students with a “bugger you” attitude.

    Discipline and hard yakka never did anyone any harm and both are missing today because the socialist lefties have succeeded in dumbing down education to make sure that no one fails.

    The problem with that is when they enter the workforce, if they ever do, they soon find out that lazy, slack people do not get jobs and if they do, they don’t keep them.

    I know of one boy by way of example who left school at the end of year 10 because he hated school, and he did get a job. He lasted one day and resigned and went back to school to finish his education. He said that he would never complain about school again.

    Face it, the world does not owe you a living and if you can’t hack a few rules in school, your life afterward in the workforce will be non existent or very short lived because employers don’t take people on to bludge.

  35. James the nomadic teacher says:

    Mr Monk rightfully points out that all students can do well at effort, behaviour and organisation regardless of academic ability.
    So why don’t they?
    In my decades of experience at working with students of all ages engagement, relevance and a sense of belonging are fundamental to improving behaviour, effort and organisation. Is Drouin SC prepared to investigate how they are travelling in this area? Will excluding rather than including students in the Deb help the students develop a sense of inclusion into the school as a whole or our community in general? Too often schools play “hard ball” with their clients (i.e. the students) rather than address how curriculum is delivered or how they might change their practises. After all the school has the heavy responsibility for creating a learning environment for everyone.
    I fear that this may be another example of how we can win battles with young people (e.g. withdraw privileges, exclude from fun activities) and lose the war. (Develop in our young people a life-long resentment of authority, loss of respect for community etc.) One can only assume that teachers who are failing to meet benchmarks for success will be similarly excluded from the staff social at the end of the year!

  36. Anna says:

    Thank you James the nomadic teacher – well said. Here’s a “trained and highly professional teacher” for you Roger Marks, or will you dismiss him as a socialist leftie because he doesn’t share your point of view? The last thing discouraged and alienated students need from their sachool is further rejection. Every school has such students, and thankfully, most schools find much more positive ways to respond to students’ ‘failure to thrive.’

  37. Glenn says:

    Comming from a students perspective, I believe this policy is completly fair and reasonable. In order to get a progress score of above 50, students are only required to actually attend school, be organised, and put in some effort. This is not hard to achieve, and it is quite reasonable that any student has the ability to achieve a progress score of 50.

    To the parents who are dissatisfied with this policy, why not consider who you are as parents. Instead of complaining about the schools incentive for students to put in some effort, why not encourage your child and motivate them so they can perform in co-curricular activities such as the deb? You as parents are equally responsible for your childs engagement. You aren’t setting a good example by standing up for your childs “cruising” attitude. If students can be motivated for completing tasks on time and for putting some effort into their schooling, they will reap the benefits. This policy provides an incentive for this.

  38. unknown says:

    as i attend dsc, i know the whole progress score deal. Just because some teachers dont like me as much as others they can mark me lower on certain things just so my score drops..Also, my progress score is definetly not the best

  39. Will Handover-Holland says:

    Might I suggest as a ‘co-curricular’
    activity the teachers and parents read this book…
    Educational Genocide:A Plague On Our Children by Horace ‘Rog’ Lucido

    Its available on Google Books

  40. Bec says:

    I was a DSC student in the early years they brought this idea into place- it was the best thing!

    It encouraged kids that wanted to participate in the extras, not just let kids drop behind as seems to be the case.

    For the parents and people who are complaining that it singles out the students who can’t do well- really listen to the people who say that you can EASILY achieve a 50% mark!

    Literally, all it means is that you HAND IN the work set by the teacher (even if it’s not right just show you at least attempted it
    You show some RESPECT in the classroom to the teacher and fellow students- and I quite honestly say that the respect shown is going downhill in percentage quite fast!!

    Kids nowadays do NOT care about anything but WANT, WANT, WANT! And where can this come from? Their PARENTS!
    This is shown by the fact that the people complaining about DSC’s decision to encourage students’ learning, don’t care that that is what they are trying to achieve!
    These people just bag the fact that a ‘right’ (which really in this age, doesn’t mean anything with kids already ‘out and about’) is taken away-
    Would you complain if they just cancelled the whole event every year, if they stopped doing it? I doubt it! It’s just because you don’t care about the respect issue that the school does and is trying to teach kids now, that you pick a fight with the policy. Stop daydreaming that your kid is the perfect child, meet with the teachers and see actually how they are going in school (see where your child is lying to you), and then make your decision.

    Because I guarantee you- DSC has each child’s future and well being at the heart of everything it does!