SCHOOL student safety on the North Coast again came into serious question yesterday when 11-year-old Blake McMaster was attacked in the school toilets at Lismore Public School.
Blake, a special needs student with epilepsy and cerebral palsy, was taken to Lismore Base Hospital yesterday afternoon after been found semi-conscious, after the attack in a locked toilet with another student, according to his uncle, Steve Kingsley.
“Apparently Blake and another student wandered off from their class and locked themselves in the toilets. It's not something Blake has ever done before.
“They were heard laughing at first but it took 30 minutes to get the door open and by then Blake was injured.
“We can't understand it. He's a happy kid; always got a smile on his face. He wouldn't hurt a fly.”
“We understand you can't watch them all the time but how did two kids get away from class and manage to lock themselves in there?”
Blake's mother Olga McMaster was distressed at the situation and the lack of information from the school.
“He's frightened. The doctors say he'll be okay but I doubt he will handle going back to school.
“Blake just started here this year when they closed the Goonellabah special needs program. I don't know why, all the students come from there.”
A Department of Education spokesman told The Northern Star that Lismore Public School was still assimilating special needs students into the school.
“(Yesterday) morning, a casual learning support officer who was not as aware of the particular characteristics of individual students was on duty prior to school. Two students left the playground and locked themselves into a toilet in the library that is normally only used by students under supervision,” the spokesman said.
“The situation is being investigated by the school and the Department, and it is hoped that it will be clarified when the principal and teacher have a chance to talk to the injured boy.
Disciplinary action has already been taken against the student who locked the door.”