A fuming dad has spoken out after he was ‘advised’ that his son, who has autism, should stay at home on Sports Day.
Dad Mark told the Liverpool Echo that a classroom support worker pulled him aside and suggested that 7-year-old Jacob, who has Aspergers Syndrome, might be better off staying at home.
The support worker was worried that Jacob could become upset and “cause a scene” if he didn’t win anything at the annual, sometimes rather competitive, event.
Mark says little Jacob “cried his eyes out” because he was excluded for the day, unable to participate with his friends.
“I feel they were embarrassed by him, rather than just thinking about his needs,” Mark told his local paper.
“It was disgusting to single him out, it is excluding him, which is exactly what you are supposed not to do with children with special needs.”
Mark also then noted that the change in circumstance – not being at Sports Day – was what really affected Jacob.
“He had been practising trial runs at school, and said he wanted to be as fast as his hero, the car Lightning McQueen [from the Cars movie franchise].
“It’s hard to accept sudden changes like that when you have autism. So I had to take the day off work to do my own Sports Day with him.”
The school’s headteacher issued an apology, saying:
“This was an entirely inappropriate suggestion made almost 2 weeks ago that neither myself nor the class teacher were made aware of until after the event.
“We have a clear policy that all of our children take part in sports day and I have taken steps to make sure this can’t happen again.
“I am really sorry for the upset this has caused and I am meeting personally with the family together with our Chair of Governors to discuss their concerns.”
But the damage has been done in Mark’s eyes, who is still understandably livid with the school, and wants Jacob to move elsewhere next year.
Fortunately, little Jacob and his family have received an amazing amount of support on social media 💛
We’re not sure what’s gone on behind the scenes with this one. Maybe the support worker thought they were being helpful, but obviously got things so, so, so unbelievably wrong…
Whatever the case, we hope Jacob enjoyed Sports Day with dad, and gets to join in with his school pals next year 😘