A DISTRESSED mother says she only discovered an out-of-school-hours care worker repeatedly kicked her autistic, intellectually disabled son in a fast-food restaurant because the woman confessed to her – one term later.
Jordy Bonser, of Woodcroft, is furious that the southern suburbs school failed to tell her the worker, who was employed by the governing council, allegedly attacked her son on a vacation-care excursion to the McDonald’s restaurant on South Rd, Darlington, in January.
Ms Bonser, a widow, said she had not been able to understand why her 10-year-old became increasingly violent towards school staff early this year, resulting in multiple suspensions.
She almost lost her senior nursing job because of the time she had to take off to look after him and even wondered whether she was somehow to blame for his behaviour, until the OSHC worker approached her on the last day of term 1.
“She says to me: ‘Did the deputy principal speak with you yesterday? I’m just going to apologise to you anyway. We were at McDonald’s and he was on the ground behind me, and I was having a bad day’ … and then she proceeded to tell me how she repeatedly kicked him,” Ms Bonser said.
Ms Bonser came forward after the Sunday Mail last week reported the parents of an intellectually disabled boy at another school, Reynella East College, were fighting his 10-week exclusion for inappropriately touching another student.
Ms Bonser said a paediatrician had diagnosed her son with acute post-traumatic stress disorder and put him on anti-anxiety medication.
She said OSHC staff had told her a junior OSHC worker had witnessed and reported the McDonald’s incident at the time.
But when Ms Bonser demanded the school explain why she was kept in the dark, the deputy principal had told her only that an investigation was under way. Weeks later, a letter from the school confirmed the Education Standards Board probe and “formal processes of performance management” were ongoing.
Ms Bonser demanded the worker be stood down but when that didn’t happen, she went to police. She said police told her the restaurant’s CCTV from January had long been wiped and the worker was warned but not charged.
The worker eventually left the OSHC service but Ms Bonser was not told whether she quit or was sacked.
Ms Bonser said she felt the principal became “very aggressive and bullying” towards her about her son’s violence against a teacher.
At the end of term 2, she was told he would be excluded for 10 weeks unless she sent him to a specialist-behaviour centre instead, which she reluctantly did.
“They want him somewhere else. They want me gone,” Ms Bonser said.
The Education Department said the investigation was continuing and the worker was “no longer at the school”, which would “continue to communicate with the family about this incident”.