I was waiting for my 10 year old son who has autism to come out from his mainstream school. As far as autism is concerned, Harry is on the high end of the spectrum and his main difficulties are speech, language and communication and the latter includes social communication. The subject is very complex and unless you have experienced life with children who have such difficulties you can't appreciate the massive impact it has on every aspect of life not just for them but for the family around them.
I am trying to give Harry a little more independence in preparation for High School in 2012 so our agreement is that I wait on the pavement outside of school and he comes to meet me.
Yesterday I was waiting as normal when Ade one of Harrys friends and his mum came up to me in a panic to say that Harry had been beaten up in the cloakroom and was crying.
Like a tigress I leapt out of the car and ran to find him. I regret to say that in my shock I didn't partake in social "niceties" with other mums for which they may think me rude but frankly, I don't care, my priority in life are my children and their welfare.
Harry came to meet me with his teacher Mr Roberts. He was wimpering and clearly in a shocked state. Mr Roberts explained the situation to me clearly and assured me that although the assailant ran off home as soon as a teacher appeared he would be dealt with accordingly on Monday morning, Mr Roberts would not tolerate such behaviour.
Mr priority at that time was to get my son home and quickly so that I could sit him down and cuddle him. As a mum when something like this happens all you want to do is wrap them up in cotton wool and protect them.
Harry drew pictures of his experience for me and was able to talk about what had happened. As he recounted the events I was horrified that 10 years olds could possibly behave in such a way. Harry had gone to collect his belongings from the cloakroom and his assailant grabbed him by the neck and slammed him continuously against the wall before reigning punches and kicks all over him. Harry told me "I didn't know if he would stop".
As soon as somebody shouted that the teacher was coming the coward ran off home leaving my son in a state of shock, hurting and badly shaken.
I expect my children to be kept safe in school and indeed they are under the impression that they are safe in school but this highlights the fact that clearly they are not.
Once I got Harry home, he covered his face with his dressing gown and stayed that way until he was calm which took a long while.
As the evening wore on, I became increasingly angry at what had happened and frustrated at the fact that I have to wait two days before I can vent my anger and concerns.
Harry told me that he is scared to go to school now. He asked if school could be at home until he went to High School.
Can you imagine my frustration now? This boy up until 2 years ago point blank refused to go to school, I had to drag him there, and after school I would have a child in a black mood all evening. To have made a break through that he is happy to go to school these days and then have this situation knock him back is totally unacceptable.
So the plan is on Monday that my husband and I will escort Harry into school and to the safety of the Head Mistresses office and we will be asking for a guarantee for Harrys safety, re-iterating that he has autism, he has special needs and the school are obviously not catering for him. I will be asking that the childs parents are contacted, that the child is taken out of range of contact of my son and he is punished accordingly!