THE MOTHER OF a six-year-year boy with autism who went public with a recording purporting to be of her son being shouted at by his teacher in a Belfast school has spoken to TheJournal.ie about how the incident has affected her family.
In the audio recording – posted on Facebook last month – a woman’s voice can be heard screaming, “We are tired of this. Your mummy is tired of this and your daddy is tired of this nonsense.”
Quinn claims the voice is that of her son’s teacher and that she was directing the words to the six-year-old.
The Education Authority in Northern Ireland has confirmed it is aware of Lisa Maria Quinn’s complaint about St Teresa’s Primary School. It said it is working with the Catholic Council for Maintained Schools (CCMS) and that an investigation is underway. It added that any further comment would be inappropriate at this time.
Speaking to TheJournal.ie eight weeks after the recording was made, she said her son Aodhan had gone from being a cheerful and affectionate child who sang songs while walking around the house to one who consistently labelled himself a “bad boy”.
She said she made the decision to put a recording device in her son’s bag in May after numerous meetings with the school weren’t resolving his issues.
In the recording, Aodhan can be heard calling for the teacher and asking “Why are you ignoring me?”
In a message posted with it on the social media platform, Quinn says:
He cried going to bed at night because he didn’t want to sleep, knowing once he wakened he had to return to school for another day.
‘I’m a bad boy’
Quinn said when her son’s behaviour started to change, she initially thought it was just because he was getting older.
He used to walk around the house singing songs, old songs like Elvis. That totally left him, he wasn’t his cheerful-self, we thought it was that he was getting older.
“He didn’t want to talk about school and would run and hide under his bed.
He started calling himself a bad boy and a loser, saying, ‘I’m a bad boy, I’m a bad boy’.
“We wouldn’t even use those terms so we knew something was wrong there.”
Quinn changed her work hours so she could drop her son to school and pick him up.
She described how when picking him up one day from school, another child pointed at her son and said, “Aodhan you’re a bad boy.”
Both the Education Authority and Catholic Council for Maintained Schools (CCMS) are now investigating the matter.
A spokesperson for the Education Authority told TheJournal.ie that it is aware of the allegation and is working with the CCMS.
The Education Authority has been working with CCMS in relation to a complaint in a school. As an investigation is underway and due to the nature of the complaint, it would be inappropriate to comment further.
The CCMS is currently closed due to a move but in a previous statement to the Belfast Telegraph, it said it is “aware of the complaint from a parent of a child against some staff in St Teresa’s Primary School and is assisting the Board of Governors in implementing the appropriate procedures and processes to address the matter”.
St Teresa’s Primary School declined to respond to TheJournal.ie‘s requests for comment.
Aodhan has since moved to a new school.
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