Irate dad says his disabled daughter was bound on a school bus

A FURIOUS father says his disabled daughter, 11, was tied up on a school bus, and is considering legal action.

Michael says Caitlyn was restrained by staff trying to stop unruly behaviour, including scratching at seats.

He said his daughter had told him force was used to bind her wrists with rope.

The principal of the Ballarat Specialist School said he believed shoelaces were used by bus staff to secure Caitlyn to her seat.

Police and the Education Department are investigating an August 29 incident.

A police spokesman said a Ballarat man was interviewed yesterday.

Ballarat Coachlines declined to comment.

The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission recently said 34 parents and 514 educators reported use of restraint on disabled schoolchildren.
Digital Pass - $5 weekend papers

Michael said he was outraged by the treatment of Caitlyn, who suffers developmental delays and epilepsy. He is investigating his legal options.

"It's shocking," Michael said. "How dare anyone do that? This is Australia.

"She can be very testing, but she's at a school where kids have problems and staff should be trained to deal with it.

"They should have rung me to pick her up."

Michael said Caitlyn had a history of behavioural problems and aggression at school, which had since worsened.

He said counselling had been offered, but he was angry the school had not reported the matter to the department or to police.

Principal John Burt said: "My understanding is that ... shoelaces (were used) to fasten the student down."

Though students could present "very trying situations", he didn't condone the behaviour and the school had told the bus company it was inappropriate and should never recur.

"The company and those involved were very remorseful and sorry ... and certainly declared it wouldn't happen again," he said.

Asked why he hadn't reported the incident to the department, he said he hadn't felt it was warranted.

Julie Phillips, from the Disability Discrimination Legal Service, said: "If this happened to a child without a disability, the (person) would be immediately sacked and any 'working with children' licence taken from him."


see also