Mom Off The Hook, Son At New School
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
March 16, 2006
WHITLEY BAY, ENGLAND--A mother got results this week after she went to the media with complaints that her 14-year-old student with cerebral palsy was "humiliated" by staff at his "special school" when they stripped and showered him in his wheelchair.
The mother, identified only as Mandy, called BBC Radio when authorities threatened legal action against her for refusing to send the boy back to school five months after the October incident. She said her son was traumatized when staff stripped and washed him, saying he smelled of urine, just 15 minutes after he arrived at school.
"What was really distressing for my son was they put his wheelchair into the shower," she said. "Anyone else with a child with special needs will know that is just not the thing to do. That is his space and his world and he controls what goes on there."
"When he came home and I asked him what had happened he was absolutely sobbing his heart out," she added. "He said he had been humiliated."
Last week, the head of Woodlawn Special School apologized to the family, even though an investigation found the staff had acted correctly.
The Sun reported Thursday that the North Tyneside Council has finally agreed to allow the teen to attend a different school. The threat of legal action has also been dropped.
"Over the last few days we have talked to the student, his family and the school and have agreed a course of action that we believe is in the best interests of the young person," said an unnamed North Tyneside Council spokesperson.
"While Woodlawn school is recognized nationally as an excellent school, in the circumstances all agree that it would be appropriate for the student to be offered a place at a new school."
The news reports did not indicate whether the boy's new placement would be at a segregated, specialized school or a mainstream school.