An autistic child meltdown at school, school wants payment for damage

Some friends of mine going through a difficult time in various ways have a son diagnosed autistic who had a meltdown at school and he caused damage. 

They are now being fined for said damage, anyone know if they are legally obliged to pay or perhaps the damage being caused by something the child can't really help is it really something they're liable for?

  • Your friends might benefit from some initial advice from Citizens Advice on this. There could be a counter charge of disability discrimination against the son by the school that your friends could also look into. The school may have policies about damage caused by pupils (check with the governors perhaps) and your friends may wish to ask to see these policies. Seems a bit arbitrary to me as it also looks like a punishment for being disabled. Even if your friends' son wasn't disabled it would still be rather difficult to pursue. It could also look like a backdoor way of getting equipment replaced at no or less cost to the school. I would complain.

  • Good points I'll mention it to them. I'm asking because they're going through a load of hell right now and barely have any time for things. Thing is this school is meant to be one that specially deals with special needs so it seems even more bizarre. 

    Their daughter who may also be autistic got shouted at for not wanting to carry her bags. Hmm. No official diagnosis with her though.  

  • I thought schools had insurance.

  • I’d be wanting a thorough investigation of how the meltdown occurred and if a EHCP was in place if it was breached.

    All too easy to blame the Autistic kid especially when the staff let their guard down and allow overwhelm to occur 

  • oh wow, perhaps i should sue my old school for all the mental damage they caused me. i mean if they can sue and force kids to pay for damages its only fair that they pay for all the damages they caused the kids too. so much damage that they fail to even acknowledge.

  • This doesn't sound right at all, I don't know much about this kind of thing but maybe these parents should go to their local education authority and ask them for advice?

  • Yeah I'd have thought that too.

  • I mean esp when it's supposed to be set up to deal with special needs as I recall. Very odd.

    The children only started going to school within this last year (they've been home schooled) and broke up for the 6 week holiday up to which there hadn't been much in the way of proper lessons but they were launched right into them on return (from what I can tell of what I've been told anyway by the parents). This has lead to stress and confusion for both children. Madness.

  • It's possible the trouble is partly caused a social worker assigned to them some time ago investigating them for supposed neglect of the children. (This is a hugely complicated thing but from what I know of the children they are far from neglected even if I didn't necessarily agree with the home schooling idea)

    The children are happy and well. But the social worker seems to be an autism denier and forever suggests all the behaviour from the children is learned from the parents and also the children have no boundaries at home. Also complete nonsense. 

    It's believed that this social worker has had words with the school to be more strict on them as the autism isn't real. But no direct evidence of that. But basically sw just refuses the believe in autistic behaviour as she has an autistic relative that goes to university.

    I'm doing what I can to support my friends but it seems like they face a conspiracy of autism denial from almost every person in authority.

  • Autism denial should be a hate crime, that said did anyone see the story about teachers laughing at the girl with a tracheotomy, it kind of dismisses the theory the deniers are incapable of understanding if they can't even get their heads round breathing through a tube in the throat.