Thursday, April 14, 2011

Teachers at autistic boy's Langley school not trained: WorkSafe

Teachers at autistic boy's Langley school not trained: WorkSafe

METRO VANCOUVER -- WorkSafe BC agrees with staff who refused to work at Topham Elementary School in Langley over safety concerns.

Tied up in the issue is six-year-old Hunter Patterson, who has autism and who cannot return to school for an indefinite period while the Langley School District figures out how to handle the situation.

Early last week the Pattersons were told Hunter could not attend class after staff refused to work and a WorkSafe BC investigation had begun.

Walnut Grove mom Tina Patterson spoke to the Langley Advance last week about her son's education being in limbo, critical about not being able to get answers from the school and district about what has happened to prompt his ouster.

WorkSafe BC was contacted by a worker at the school on April 4. It initiated an investigation and has made its inspection report public.

"Since September 2010 the employer has reported 16 physical and/or threatening incidents that have occurred between students and workers," the report said.

WorkSafe blocked out many pieces of information in the report, including the identities of the workers, the identities of any students cited, and how many of those 16 incidents involve the boy.

"I find it shocking that there have been 16 incidents," before WorkSafe was notified, Tina Patterson said. She noted that despite that many incidents, the families involved were not informed. The Pattersons are launching an appeal of the WorkSafe findings and submitting a freedom of information application to get the full access to their son's files.

"Where are Hunter's rights in this, in terms of verying those incidents, as a minor," she said.

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