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(UK) N.I.: Multiple families claim schools abuse special needs students

Mar 5, 2021, Belfast Live: 22 NI families claim their special needs children were restrained and injured in school https://www.belfastlive.co.uk/news/belfast-news/22-ni-families-claim-special-19910126

The families of 22 primary school children with special needs have reported injuries allegedly caused by restraints used on them in Northern Ireland schools. The pupils, many of whom are non-verbal, were aged four to 11. The children have diagnoses such as learning difficulties, cerebral palsy, anxiety and 16 of the youngsters had an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis with one awaiting confirmation. The families of each child claim they were either restrained physically or mechanically such as being strapped into a chair, and others also reported them being placed in isolation during class…. Parents reported physical injuries such as bruising to arms, legs, thighs and face, abrasions, ‘scratches from Velcro’, and in one case ‘multiple abrasions from being dragged’. After a mammoth battle by concerned families seeking justice and action, Stormont’s Education Committee hosted a hearing on restrictive practice, seclusion and restraint in Northern Ireland’s schools. International focus was drawn to the meeting when celebrity and businesswoman Paris Hilton tweeted her 17 million followers, announcing that she was backing parents working to create fitting legislation on restraint and seclusion in Northern Ireland schools…. MLAs on the Education Committee heard from Deirdre Shakespeare from ICARS, the International Coalition Against Restraint and Seclusion and PABBS and Parent Action. Deirdre, mum to Elle, 18, Fionn, 16 and nine year-old Harry, discovered her youngest child had been strapped into a chair in a primary school after photos of the occasions were sent home in his work books…. And she called for new legislation and training centred on the experiences of parents plus the appointment of a parent-carer champion. Deirdre Shakespeare and Beth Morrsion - who co-founded ICARS with Zoey Read - gave compelling evidence to the committee, described as “powerful, disturbing and upsetting” by the SDLP’s Justin McNulty. The committee’s deputy chairman, Pat Sheehan, SF, said the report from the campaigners had echoes of reports from Muckamore Abbey, where it was found patients has been subjected to hours of solitary isolation and distress. …


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