The mother of a disabled child has accused an east London school of discrimination over allegations he was made to eat tissues as a form of punishment by a member of staff, The independent heard.
The 27-year-old, from Newham, demanded answers after learning that her then-six-year-old son had allegedly been mistreated by those in charge of his care for several months.
She was not aware of the alleged incidents until a concerned teacher assistant informed her after resigning in disgust, claiming that her multiple complaints about the child’s treatment had been ignored by the school administration. ‘school.
The child has multiple disabilities and complex needs including severe autism, developmental delay syndrome, epilepsy, chromosome 3 and skatolia. He also lives with Pica – a condition that involves the repeated consumption of things that are not food.
The whistleblower said he witnessed the handkerchief incident, as well as various instances where the child was physically pushed, harshly assaulted and reprimanded for being “slow” after struggling to bend down and pull down. tie your own laces. for 25 minutes.
They filed formal complaints with the school about the treatment of the child no less than four times from November 2020, when the allegedly abusive teaching assistant took over the child, until April 2021. when the mother took him out of school.
Meanwhile, it is claimed that the boy suffered from an increase in epileptic seizures and that he “nearly died” once from a prolonged seizure that lasted for three days after a traumatic incident at school. – of which his mother was not informed. Meanwhile, the education assistant said he had not been trained in epileptic first aid while being responsible for the boy’s care.
Talk to The independent, the whistleblower believes racism was a factor in the treatment of the vulnerable child.
“To be honest with you, I think race was a factor. The majority of children at this separate center for children with special educational needs (SEN) were either Asian or black. In fact, there wasn’t a single white child there; white SEN students were placed in classrooms with a teaching assistant. In addition, there was no follow-up for [this boy], no advice after these incidents, ”they said.
Still, the boy’s mother said she had not been made aware of the alleged abuse, despite the whistleblower reporting it to the principal and the principal’s assistant.
“I am totally disgusted to learn that none of these incidents have been reported to the authorities and, more importantly, to [the boy’s] mother through school, keeping in mind that even if a child is administered an ice pack, the parent is notified during or after the school day, ”added the whistleblower.
“In this case, the school decided to ‘cover up’ these incidents, which is absolutely shocking, given their safeguard policy.”
“I feel betrayed,” said the mother The independent. “Even I found the primary school and I enrolled [my son] there they gave me the impression that I could trust them. When I found out, it broke me for my son.
“I feel hurt and angry that I was not informed of these incidents despite attending several meetings to discuss his care plan and progress. Even after I discovered them and confronted them, they acted like nothing had happened, driving the witnesses and myself mad.“
On more than one occasion during his time in the teacher’s care, the mother said her son told her and her grandfather that he no longer wanted go to school. They couldn’t understand why and he was unable to fully explain the reasons.
The mother said that she began to notice more and more that her son was not “quite himself”, that he was becoming more and more aggressive and submissive; it quickly diminished when she took him out of school.
She said The independent: “In fact, I didn’t know anything about these incidents until the former teaching assistant told me about it. When they told me I was crying, I couldn’t help myself. On top of that, when I subsequently reported complaints to the school and the police, no one took action. “
In response to a letter from the worried mother alleging mistreatment of her son, seen by The independent, the school said it could not share the outcome of its investigations into the matter due to data protection laws affecting herself and the whistleblower – which the mother called “disappointing” .
“I took my son out of school and people were encouraging me to put him back there, but why would I knowingly keep him in a situation where he is being abused? My child comes first. Her education is important, but so is her health and safety, ”she said.
“As the whistleblower, I think it is possible that [my son] was treated this way because of racism, as well as ableism. It is intimidation. Discriminate against someone you find inferior to you who is different.
“My son has a strong personality that needs to be handled in a special way and I think the fact that he is black might be a factor because someone of a different ethnicity may not be equipped to deal with that.”
When approached by The independent, the school did not deny that the incidents took place or directly refute the allegations of racism and ableism.
“We are committed to providing a safe, compassionate and nurturing learning environment and take any allegations of inappropriate treatment of children very seriously,” said a spokesperson.
“When these allegations came to light, they were thoroughly investigated and the school took appropriate action. This included following up on the statutory outpatient search process with the Newham Local Authority Designated Officer Service (LADO) to provide independent oversight on issues raised and included liaising with police and social services to children.
“We are a school community that values every day, every lesson, every opportunity and everyone. “
A spokesperson for the Newham Council said: “The safety and creation of a positive learning environment for all of our students, especially vulnerable children, is absolutely crucial and we take any allegations of improper treatment very seriously. ‘children.
“When these allegations came to light, they were thoroughly investigated and the school took appropriate action. This included following up on the statutory external consultation research process with the Newham Local Authority’s Designated Agent Service (LADO) to provide independent oversight on issues raised and included liaising with relevant statutory partners.
“The school contacted the parent, sharing the action taken by the school in response to the allegations made.”
Despite the involvement of all the aforementioned agencies, the mother is not aware of the outcome of their investigations.
She and the whistleblower contend that the school and the board are dishonest and demand the resignation of the principal and the deputy principal of the school, also writing to the new secretary of Education Nadhim Zahawi asking for his intervention in this matter.
The Metropolitan Police have been approached for comment.