My Communication Passport

Calum's Story

by Beth Morrison

I joined parent support groups where other children had been subjected to these restrictive practises. Often the kiddies were injured- some quite seriously, yet not one of the children had seen any kind of justice. No member of staff was ever held accountable for their actions.  It was all hidden away, behind closed doors like a dirty little secret.

I admit to being quite vocal, and before long, I was being contacted by other parents whose children had also been injured due to having been restrained by school staff. I realised there was a problem with “mechanical restraints” being used to strap mobile children into wheelchairs they were supposed to use only for extended walks, with so many straps that it was effectively being used as a mobile prison. Then, I also heard of schools demanding other children be “medicated” to control behaviour, which had awful side effects. Families were completely powerless, they all felt they had no option but to accept what was happening to their children for fear the school would say their child couldn’t come to school!

So.. I decided to take action.

I began contacting disability and children’s charities asking them to support me in petitioning the Scottish Parliamentary Petitions Committee in Holyrood. Without exception, they were 100% behind me. Many said that we needed “Laws” or at the very least “National Guidance” to protect disabled children from this barbaric practise. The only “guidance” I could find was a document produced years ago called “Holding Safely” but on scrutinising this document, I realised that it was for “looked after” children and “young offenders”. The word “disability” was not mentioned, and it was clear to me that “Holding Safely” had never been designed with severely disabled children in mind.

In March 2015, PE 01548 National Guidance on Restraint and Seclusion in Schools finally came to the public petitions committee in Holyrood and we were invited to speak to the MSP’s asking for them to take action to ensure the Scottish Government gave us the guidance that was desperately needed.

In July 2015, an NGO report for Together Scotland was submitted to the UNCRC (United Nations Convention of The Rights Of The Child) in Geneva. Key points in our petition were recommended for implementation in order for the Scottish Government to comply with the UNCRC

In September 2015, the petition was heard again in Holyrood by the petitions committee and The Scottish Government said it was “committed” to refreshing guidance for ALL children.

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