The mother of a young woman who suffered horrific injuries while being restrained at school is demanding cameras in all classrooms where children with additional needs are taught.
Claire Mooney waited four years before going public about the distressing incident through our sister paper, the Daily Record, while waiting for police and council probes to conclude.
She was distracted to learn after her long wait that two teachers who had been charged with causing the injuries to daughter Lyndsay, now 24, would not be prosecuted.
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Since that time, in 2018, she has campaigned for better protection for disabled children in schools.
Claire, from Bellshill, has lodged a petition at Holyrood demanding children with disabilities be kept safe with cameras in class.
Lyndsay is autistic and has Prader Willi Syndrome and, Claire claims, was routinely restrained at Bothwellpark High School in Motherwell, which catered for children with additional support needs.
Claire was devastated when Lyndsay came home in March 2014 with the injuries shown in our photos.
Her face was so badly swollen that an A&E consultant who examined her thought her jaw might be broken.
Claire remembers a call from the school to say Lyndsay had “kicked off,” had been restrained and had a small bruise on her cheek.
She said: “I couldn’t believe the state of her. It looked like she’d been in a car crash, not at school.”
Following her complaints, and despite Lyndsay’s injuries, North Lanarkshire Council (NLC) found that staff had acted appropriately.
Claire had a complaint upheld about a police investigation, which led to a second probe, and this time two staff were charged, but the case was dropped almost four years on due to a lack of “admissible evidence”.
Claire added: “I vowed then I would keep fighting to make sure kids whose lives were already so difficult would be safe at school.
“I campaigned, I met MSPs and was told that putting cameras in classrooms would put people off joining the profession.
“I pointed out that cameras would keep everyone safe – kids from assault and teachers from unjustified allegations.
“I still believe to this day that the only people who would not welcome cameras in classrooms are those who think they might want to hide aspects of their behaviour.
“It is also strange that the vast majority of the kids who are badly injured – and sadly what happened to my daughter was no one-off – are the non-verbal kids who can’t easily say who did it to them.
“I’ve put my petition into the Parliament and have shared it on Facebook and would ask that others who care about the most vulnerable kids in our society sign it.”
Claire added: “Councils and unions want to protect their reputation and the reputations of members. All I care about is that all kids are safe.”
The Scottish Government and NLC were at odds in their responses to the Record.
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “The use of physical intervention, physical restraint and seclusion should only ever be used appropriately, as a last resort and when in the best interests of the child or young person.
“Local authorities have a duty to provide a safe school environment.
“It would be for them to decide whether they consider it necessary to have CCTV cameras in classrooms.”
But a council spokesman said: “Any decision on the installation of cameras in classrooms would need to be taken at a national level.”
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