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(UK) Maidstone: $106K compensation; autistic twins abused in school 12 yrs ago

Mar 26, 2022, BBC: Maidstone school placed autistic boys in restraint chairs

SE England

A pair of autistic twins have been offered £80,000 [$106K] in compensation, after they were repeatedly restrained at a special school. Samuel and Jacob Montague were put in restraint chairs at a special school in Maidstone, Kent. Kent County Council admitted the school failed to follow its own policies and broke government guidelines. The boys' parents discovered what had happened after an unannounced visit to the school by a social worker. The twins, now 17, were placed in restraint chairs, with lap and shoulder straps, while at Five Acre Wood School when they were aged between five and seven. Their parents, Mark and Annie Montague, were sent pictures of the boys in the chairs, but the straps were not visible. A medical report, followed by the visit from their social worker, highlighted the use of the chairs, which was then stopped at the request of the Montagues. The couple said the twins had been left scared and distressed. 'SECOND CLASS CITIZENS' Mrs Montague said: "That will always haunt me, and I continuously beg for their forgiveness. "They came home and we sent them back again, and they just couldn't tell us what was happening to them, and we just stupidly trusted everyone at that school". Mr Montague said: "It was the complete lack of compassion. It was as though they were animals rather than children. "It was because of their autism. They were second class citizens, at best. They weren't human beings, and because they couldn't express themselves, could not talk, that it was OK to do these things to them." Kent County Council has now agreed to the payout after a lengthy legal case. In a statement, the authority said it was "deeply sorry for the experiences Samuel and Jacob and their parents suffered during their time at Five Acre Wood School". "The occupational therapist prescribed specialist chairs for therapeutic reasons. The use of these chairs should always be agreed by a multi-disciplinary team, in consultation with service users and their families. "Regrettably this did not happen in Samuel and Jacob's case." The family's solicitor described the boys' treatment as "akin to torture". Catriona Reubens said: "We argue it's inhumane and degrading treatment to them, and this was at a very specialist school that was supposed to be fully funded and equipped to meet their needs."

Annie Montague said what happened to her sons will "always haunt her"


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