The parents of Alex Booth aged 6 are outraged with the decision to ban their son from a special needs school bus. Kirklees Council are responsible for providing transport to children going to Woodley Special School in Huddersfield.
School transport officials described the 6-year olds behaviour as too challenging for the one member of staff on board to cope with. Alex’s mother was given only a few days to arrange transport for her son. Mrs Booth said:
“They’ve said he’s off straight away and he can’t come back until his behaviour improves. You would think they’d understand that that’s not going to happen because he’s autistic. If it was that easy, he’d be in a mainstream school.”
“There’s always going to be a chance that he’s going to have a meltdown, that’s why he’s going to Woodley. Their whole attitude is, it’s not our problem, it’s your problem, but a lot of kids on that bus have autism.”
Mrs Booth believes her son’s behaviour has worsened since officials doubled his journey time to 80 minutes. The original route took 45 minutes. The council have been asked for comments, but it is yet to respond.
Kirklees council did provide a one-to-one escort to help keep him calm on the journey, however after two days they could not cope with the behaviour. The council have refused to pay for an escort to take Alex in a taxi. Mrs Booth is now left with no choice but to drive her son to school, which is impacting on Alex’s older brother who now has to attend school breakfast club from 7:30 am each day.
Kirklees council have offered to pay for her fuel.
Martin Kilgallon, founder of the Kirklees-based charity, the Whole Autism Family, said:
“We are led to believe at this stage the SEN team are happy to go tribunal and take the chance that they might win… They fail to acknowledge the stress and grief this causes families of children with a disability and also the extra pain or anxiety this may cause the child at the centre of the dispute.”
If you need assistance with any area of special educational needs law, please contact HCB solicitors on 020 7293 0998.