Autistic teen found gagged and tied up in toilet block at Croydon Special Developmental School

Suzan Delibasic

An autistic teenager was gagged and tied up with his pants down in a Croydon school toilet block before being discovered by a teacher.

The boy’s distraught grandmother said the 18-year-old, who attends Croydon Special Developmental School and has non-verbal autism, was found with another student in a toilet cubicle about 9.15am on Monday, May 29. He was gagged and had his wrists bound with crepe bandages.

The school has confirmed the “distressing” incident but the boy’s grandmother is angry the school has not warned other parents or removed the other student from classes.

She said a relief teacher sent her a message 90 minutes later informing her that an “incident” had occurred and the police had been called.

“I phoned the school straight away and was told the details but they tried to discourage me from picking him up,” she said.

“They said my grandson was perfectly fine and that it was better for him to stay in class and stick to his usual routine.

“She deflected all of my questions because she said the police had been called and it was now their matter.”

The woman, who cares for her grandson, said she phoned an autism support service which recommended immediately removing the teen from the school.

She said when she arrived at the school her grandson was in a fragile state.

The wrist markings on the student after being tied up with crepe bandages.

“He was very pale and agitated; he was in a really bad place,” she said.

“We were unable to speak to the principal or vice-principal because they were away at the time.”

The grandmother said her grandson had not been himself for the past year.

“There have been several incidents over the past month where he was coming home with his underwear ripped to shreds,” she said.

The grandmother said she was absolutely sick to her stomach by the school’s lack of response.

She said the school’s principal did not phone her until the following night and she received a letter two days later acknowledging the incident.

“There has been no urgency or action taken by the school and the student who did this still remains in the classroom,” she said.

School principal Elizabeth Anderson did not respond to a request for comment, but, in her letter to the student’s grandmother two days after the incident, she acknowledged it was “distressing”.

“I want to assure you that the school is taking the matter very seriously,” she wrote.

But Ms Anderson said that due to “privacy considerations and the fact that police are investigating the matter” she would not alert the broader school community to the incident.

The grandmother said she was concerned that the other student remained at the school and other parents should be warned.

She wants the Education Department to investigate immediately.

Knox Police detective acting Senior Sergeant Michael Ferdinand said police had responded to a report of an incident at the school on May 29 and investigations were continuing.

The Education Department has been contacted for comment.