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Father says autistic boy did not receive proper care

Diallo Rabain, the Minister of Education, apologised to a father whose son was injured while in the care of a local school (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

The Minister of Education has apologised to a father who said that his autistic son was not given proper care by his schoolteacher after being injured.

Romone Smith wrote on the MAJ’s List, a Facebook group, that his son M’illion Smith, 7, cut his foot on the rocks at Pontoons in Spanish Point at the end of last month while under the care of a teacher at Prospect Primary School.

He also said that the teacher in question did not fill out an incident form, instead telling him that the injury had been cleaned and assessed.

Mr Smith said that he took his son to the hospital the next day, having discovered a “very large gash”, and found that he required two stitches to the wound. He questioned the teacher’s authority in telling him that the wound had been assessed properly and her failure to report the incident to the family.

Mr Smith said that he went to the school to speak to the principal, and the teacher was called in to discuss the matter. He said that the teacher was “instantly triggered” when he requested to be given an incident form and that she had to be “lightly restrained” by the principal.

He said that he called the police, who told him that the Department of Child and Family Services would be involved, but had yet to receive a call back.

Mr Smith told The Royal Gazette: “Before it got this far, I reached out to the teacher very peacefully to try to resolve this matter — for her to say ‘I took my eyes off him, a mistake happened, I apologise and I also apologise for not reporting it to you’.

“I need some clarity right now. We have no confidence, we don’t feel safe nor are we assured that our son is going to be in the best of care under this teacher.

“If a child is injured, you have to call the parent. She has my number and his mother’s number. For her to become irate is totally unacceptable. She needs to be held accountable.

“My son is non-verbal. He cannot speak for himself. I am his voice. I am here to protect him.”

Diallo Rabain, the Minister of Education, replied to Mr Smith’s post from his personal Facebook account saying: “Your thread about your son has had the comments disabled by the MAJ’s List moderator. You know me personally, so please send me a direct message … with all the necessary details.”

The minister provided his Ministry of Education e-mail address as well as his mobile phone number.

Mr Rabain added: “I will have the Department of Education follow up on this and provide answers for you.

“My sincere apologies for your son’s incident, and I am confident we can work this out. We must use these incidents to improve our policies.”

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Education said yesterday: “A post on Facebook in which a parent expressed his concerns about the handling of matters related to his son, a student in the Bermuda public school system, was brought to the minister's attention.

“Student safety is of paramount importance to the ministry and Department of Education. The parents will be contacted today by the Department of Education so that they may look further into the matter."

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Published August 16, 2023 at 7:58 am (Updated August 16, 2023 at 7:35 am)

Father says autistic boy did not receive proper care

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