THE mother of a child who suffers from severe developmental disorders has been left “terrified” of sending her daughter to school after she managed to escape “four times”. 

Annie Detman has been forced to pull her daughter, Jasmine Moultrie, out of two primary schools in North Lanarkshire as she believes the nine-year-old is not being kept safe by teaching staff. 

The mum-of-three claims that Jasmine – diagnosed with Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) with Autism - is being discriminated against as she has only received “13 months’ worth of education since she started school”. 

Glasgow Times:

Annie, from Moodiesburn, said: “She deserves an education like any other child.

“I had no other choice but to take her out of St Barbra’s Primary and Glenmanor Primary. She managed to escape four times between the two schools but the last time in April was the final straw. 

“Each time it happened, it would result in a police search. I nearly had a mental breakdown when they told me that a police helicopter would be drafted in to find her.

“It became obvious that the teaching staff just couldn’t handle her and were not trained to deal with her behaviour, so for her safety, I took her home.

“We would be lucky if she has had 13 months’ worth of education since she started school.”

PDA is characterised by an extreme avoidance of everyday demands and an anxiety-driven need to be in control.

The disorder is recognised as a sub-type of autism by the National Autistic Society and is sometimes known as Extreme Demand Avoidance.

Glasgow Times:

Annie claims that while Jasmine attended mainstream schools, she was sent home almost every day due to bad behaviour. 

The 44-year-old said: “She used to be sent home every day because they couldn’t deal with her behaviour properly. The only way they knew was to just send her home – how is that fair? 

“She didn’t feel safe at school, she felt threatened. She felt so unsafe and didn’t want to be there so she would leave. I don’t know how they managed to let it happen.”

Since April, Jasmine was entered into a specialist learning programme by North Lanarkshire Council. Annie, however, withdrew her from the course after an incident involving a member of staff.

Glasgow Times:

“It resulted in Jasmine having meltdowns and she wanted to come home”, said Annie. 

“She heard the staff talking about her negatively, so she challenged them. Nobody likes to hear others talking about them, especially not when you are nine. 

“Then, he had been in a car on the motorway on her way home from the programme and she managed to open the door as they hadn’t put a child lock on.

“So I took her out again because she was made to feel uncomfortable and she was put in danger – again.”

Since then, the family have been waiting on North Lanarkshire Council to find a new, appropriate school for Jasmine to attend.

To Annie’s horror, the local authority suggested that she attends Pentland School – an additional support needs primary which is currently only attended by boys. 

Annie said: “I was absolutely horrified when they first suggested this to me.

“They don’t have any girls’ toilets for pupils, where would she go? Who would she make friends with? She would feel singled out and isolated. 

"I want her to be in a mixed environment where she will learn and develop with other boys and girls and go into further education. She deserves that as much as the next child.”

Glasgow Times:

Now, heartbroken Annie is calling on the council to introduce mandatory staff training on developmental disorders as she feels Jasmine has missed out. 

By introducing training, she hopes that it would give children who require additional support a better chance at attending mainstream schools. 

“If my wee girl had been given the chance to go through mainstream school, she would have so many more opportunities ahead of her”, she said.

“But it has all been taken away, she has lost out on so much already. It makes me so hurt and so sorry for her because the days of school are meant to be the best days of your life. 

“This needs to be brought to peoples’ attention. There are probably other families out there going through something similar to us and it must be addressed. 

“Staff at mainstream schools should be receiving official training to deal with children that have PDA with autism so as they can go through mainstream education.

“I know for a fact that when she does go back to school, I will be terrified with worry in case something happens to her. Education have a duty of care to provide to our children but I feel they don’t protect my child well enough.”

North Lanarkshire Council confirmed that Jasmine managed to escape from their schools a number of times but could not verify the four incidents. 

A spokesman said: “We are unable to discuss the specific personal circumstances of this inquiry however, we are fully engaged with the family and are continuing to provide our full support so Jasmine receives the best educational experiences possible.

“The presumption is to provide pupils with a mainstream education which establishes the right of all children and young people to be educated alongside their peers in mainstream schools unless there are reasons for not doing so, and we would always endeavor to pursue this approach.

“The council recently approved a £2.2 million investment in additional needs learning following a comprehensive consultation into the service. We will continue to work with the family and provide Jasmine with our full support.”