Epileptic boy 'strapped into chair' at Hervey Bay school

A 13-YEAR-OLD special needs boy was regularly strapped to a chair at Hervey Bay Special School to stop him running around, according to his parents.

Lynette Nolan and Cary White said teachers or aides at the school regularly tied their son up with a car seat belt last year to stop him getting out of his chair because he was walking around too much.

"We were annoyed, very annoyed, that they could tie Daniel down and not let him walk around," she said.

"Cary contacted the principal over it and she was trying to deny it even happened.
"(But) we saw it with our own eyes."

Daniel suffers from Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, a rare type of epilepsy that leaves him with severe speech and learning impairments.

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Daniel White's parents, Lynette Nolan and Cary White, say he was strapped to his chair at Hervey Bay Special School with a seat belt. Photo: Supplied
Daniel White's parents, Lynette Nolan and Cary White, say he was strapped to his chair at Hervey Bay Special School with a seat belt. Photo: Supplied

The latest account follows anger over the story of an autistic boy who was locked in a small 'cell-like' room at another Hervey Bay school.

Kawungan State School autistic student Tate Smith was put into the room up to 20 times last year.

Children with Disability Australia chief executive officer Stephanie Gotlib said it wasn't the way any student should be treated.

She said better training for teachers and more resources were needed along with the elimination of the culture of low expectations for people with a disability.

"There is a real crisis in education at the moment with students with disability where schools simply don't have the capacity to provide quality education for students with disability.

"Those broader issues need to be addressed before more harm is done to children."

Mother Kelly-Ann Brooks said her son, a Year 3 student at Kawungan State School, had been left distraught by the ordeal.

She described the 2x2m room as "cell-like".

The Department of Education has now ordered the school to shut down the "unacceptable" room, putting out a warning to all state school principals about proper disciplinary action for students.

An investigation into the incident has also been launched.

Education Minister Kate Jones told Parliament on Wednesday that the use of the room was completely unacceptable.

"As soon as the department became aware, the school was ordered to close the room. That matter is being investigated," she said.

Topics:  disability education special needs

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