Mum’s petition calling for changes in restraining disabled children off to Holyrood

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An Angus mum’s petition calling for new rules on the way disabled children are restrained in schools has received more than 7,000 signatures.

Beth Morrison lodged her petition with the Scottish Parliament and is set to travel to Holyrood to present her case to MSPs.

The campaign calls for changes to national guidelines on the use of restraint, saying it has to be a last resort, as well as calling for the recording of every incident leading to restraint or seclusion.

It also aims to set a limit on the time kids are put into solitary seclusion and the end of restraints that are “cruel, humiliating or painful”.

The petition attracted 4,665 signatures online and around 3,000 offline over the past six weeks.

Beth, 49, of Monifieth, said: “I’m absolutely delighted with the results. The response has been amazing, given that we only had about six weeks to gather signatures.

“It isn’t just about the numbers though pretty much every disability charity in the country is behind us.

“I’m just a mum, but I hope that I can help change the lives of disabled children in Scotland for the better.

“The next step now is going to the Scottish Parliament to present the petition and we’ll take it from there.”

Beth is among a number of parents whose disabled child attended Kingspark School in Dundee and who had raised concerns about restraint methods at the school.

In May, an independent investigation found there was “no cause for concern” for pupil safety, but parents claimed at the time their complaints weren’t properly investigated.

Beth said: “There is lots of guidance around about what should happen with regards to restraint, but it is not mandatory. We are calling on the Scottish Government to address this policy gap as a matter of urgency.

“It would appear that currently local authorities are under no obligation to have such a policy and currently there is no national guidance on how local councils should design such policies.”

A Scottish Parliament spokesman said Beth’s case would go before the petitions committee on March 17, at which point members will be obliged to consider the points she has raised.

PAMIS, a Dundee-based charity supporting disabled people, has been helping Beth.

A spokesman said: “As a charity committed to supporting people with profound and multiple learning disabilities and their family carers, PAMIS welcomes an open discussion on the development of appropriate guidance on restraint and seclusion.”