PSA ‘lost the plot’ in swim­ming in­ci­dent

Evening Express (City Final) - - Front Page - BY DANNY MCKAY

A MOTHER has told how her se­verely autis­tic son was left “trau­ma­tised” after be­ing as­saulted at a swim­ming pool by a school worker. Pupil sup­port as­sis­tant Amanda Thom­son, or Bellew, “lost the plot” with the nine-year-old and threw a toy, hit­ting him on the head. The 50-year-old lost her job as a re­sult of the in­ci­dent. She was fined £400 at Aberdeen Sher­iff Court after pre­vi­ously be­ing found guilty of strik­ing the boy on the head with a ball and a plas­tic toy. The in­ci­dent hap­pened at an Aberdeen­shire school for chil­dren with ad­di­tional sup­port needs on Fe­bru­ary 27. Speak­ing after the sen­tenc­ing the boy’s mum said: “I put him to school think­ing he’s in a safe en­vi­ron­ment so to ac­tu­ally be told some­body who’s meant to care for him and nur­ture him has as­saulted him is hor­ri­ble. “He can speak but he can’t com­mu­ni­cate so he couldn’t tell me what hap­pened, but he was re­ally quiet that day when I picked him up. “I think he was trau­ma­tised by it. “He’s got pro­found learn­ing dif­fi­cul­ties, speech and lan­guage dis­or­der.” De­fence agent Chris Mait­land said: “This does ap­pear to have been a com­plete and ut­ter one-off.” He added his client “lost the plot for a few sec­onds” and had now lost her job as a re­sult. She had also suf­fered from stress, de­pres­sion and anx­i­ety. Sher­iff Sukhwinder Gill said: “Dur­ing the course of your em­ploy­ment you lost con­trol and as­saulted this child by throw­ing a plas­tic toy at him while he was in a swim­ming pool. “As a con­se­quence of this of­fence you’ve lost your em­ploy­ment and you’re un­likely to work with chil­dren again.” She added she be­lieved it was an “iso­lated in­ci­dent” and fined Bellew, of Kel­lands Road, In­verurie, £400. The boy’s mum de­scribed the sen­tence as a “dis­grace”. She added: “It seemed to me it was all about pity for her be­cause she’s lost her job. I know a lot of peo­ple prob­a­bly think she should have been put to jail for it. “I’m not sure about that, but I cer­tainly think more than a £400 fine, at least some com­mu­nity ser­vice. She should have been made an ex­am­ple of.” An Aberdeen­shire Coun­cil spokes­woman said: “We note the de­ci­sion by the court. We can con­firm that the pupil sup­port as­sis­tant is no longer a coun­cil em­ployee. “We would like to again apol­o­gise for the up­set this in­ci­dent has caused to the in­di­vid­ual and the fam­ily con­cerned. “Through the school Aberdeen­shire Coun­cil has pro­vided on­go­ing sup­port and di­a­logue to the fam­ily dur­ing this dif­fi­cult time.”

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