11-year-old boy with Down syndrome left naked and soaking wet on playground for over 30 minutes, teachers suspended
An 11-year-old boy with Down syndrome was left unsupervised, naked and soaking wet on the playground of a British school for almost half an hour.
CCTV camera at Stanley School in Pensby, Wirral, recorded Levi Blackshaw "curled up in a ball and crying like a baby" after being left outside on a cold afternoon on October 30, his mother Suzanne Cole said.
Cole said that her son, who suffers from a number of health issues, including being non-verbal due to his Down Syndrome, was handed a towel after 30 minutes of enduring the cold outside and eight minutes later, was given a pair of shorts.
After that, he remained standing outside in the cold for a further 22 minutes before he was brought inside.
The incident allegedly started when Blackshaw "acted up" inside the classroom and was left alone to deal with his behavioral issues. He then got himself wet while playing with water and decided to take his clothes off.
When the staff found him naked, they took him to another classroom before escorting him out into the playground with just a towel wrapped around his shoulders.
Cole said that she had no idea about what happened to her son and only came to know about the incident a day later after a witness described seeing Blackshaw cold and crying in the playground.
"When I found out, I was just crying. I went into the school and I nearly smashed the classroom up. My partner had to get the social workers and I had to be removed from the building." she told Liverpool Echo.
"I demanded to see the CCTV footage from the headteacher and it took two weeks, and when we saw it I was crying and even he was crying."
She added: "It was awful. What's really hard is how can you prove how Levi was affected? He is non-verbal, he is not like us. He came home from school that evening and we didn't even know. You send them to school to be protected."
An investigation was launched against deputy head Cecilia Maxwell but she was allowed to return to the school. Eleven months later, she along with headteacher Anthony Roberts and assistant headteacher Helen Clements were suspended by the board members.
The school did stress that the suspension was not an indication that the individuals were guilty of any misconduct.