Autistic boy was '˜dragged through school' by headteacher
THE father of an autistic boy has accused a former school chief of covering up a string of serious complaints - including that a head teacher 'dragged his son through school'.
David Wright, former Head of Schools at Edinburgh Council, began a five day hearing with the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) yesterday.
He faces allegations that he failed to investigate complaints and even lied to a family in a bid to protect his colleagues.
It was revealed at the hearing that Mr Wright’s daughter was the head teacher’s business partner during the alleged incidents.
And if the charges are found proven, he may be struck off and banned from the profession.
The charge states that between September 2010 and June 2011, the parents of an autistic boy made seven complaints to their son’s school, all of which were referred to Mr Wright for investigation.
The complaints include allegations of “inappropriate handling of Pupil A by members of teaching staff” and “bullying and discrimination of Pupil A by the head teacher”.
The first witness to be called at the hearing, held in Edinburgh, was the child’s father who remained anonymous for legal reasons.
He gave a statement claiming that on one occasion, the head teacher at his son’s school “dragged him through the school”.
He also alleged that another teacher “pulled his son from under a desk as he clutched onto the table legs”.
The father said that he spent four months asking for an “informal” investigation to take place - but nothing was done to get to the bottom of the allegations.
It was only after submitting Freedom of Information requests that he found out the school was “deliberately withholding” documentation and reports.
One email, revealed by the request, showed how the head teacher sought help from their deputy on how to get rid of correspondence regarding the parent and his child.
When asking for advice, the head teacher wrote: “Don’t think he’s ever going to stop.”
The witness also told how his son had undergone tremendous stress following the alleged abuse.
He said: “He was put under a lot of stress, especially when we initially didn’t believe his story over what the school was saying.”
He added: “We really thought the head teacher would be suspended and there would be an investigation.
“It does not seem right that you could receive that information and not act immediately.”
The rest of the charges state that the parents also complained about “the destruction, withholding or deliberate amendment for the purposes of concealment, of documentation including reports about the said handling”.
They also alleged that that staff had failed to ensure their child was safe within the school, and that someone had made “false or misleading statements” about the pupil and his parents.
Furthermore, they said that there had been “an attempt to permanently delete information from an email account...following a request for the information from the City of Edinburgh Council”.
Mr Wright, who was present at the first day of the hearing, denies all the charges.
The hearing is currently ongoing and is due to conclude on Friday.