An investigation is underway into allegations of verbal abuse by a member of staff at a Tasmanian high school over an autistic teenager, the state’s acting education minister has confirmed.
Brenton Redshaw’s 13-year-old son Cyrus returned home from Latrobe High School earlier this month with a video on his phone that showed a man shouting and insulting him on the school grounds.
Mr Redshaw said his son, who is autistic and struggling with social interactions, was practicing the long jump when the man – who he says works at the school – started abusing him.
Tasmania’s acting education minister, Michael Ferguson, said an investigation was underway, but declined to comment further.
“The government has a strong stance on behavior in schools,” Mr Ferguson said.
“However, as this is an ongoing active investigation, it is not appropriate for the government to comment as it could potentially harm the process.”
Mr Redshaw said his son had set up his phone to film his long jump practice and was already recording when the man appeared in frame and started abusing him.
In the video, the man picks up an object from the ground and accuses the teenager of breaking it before saying the words “f—ing c—“.
“For someone like that to have a working card with the vulnerable, it amazes me. It absolutely amazes me,” Mr Redshaw said.
He said he had been told by someone within the Department for Education that the staff member had been removed from his post pending an investigation.
For someone like that, having a work card with vulnerable people, it surprises me.
In response to questions about the video, a Department for Education spokesperson said all allegations of misconduct were taken “very seriously”, but it was “not appropriate to comment on individual matters. “.
“With any incident of serious misconduct, the employee is asked not to return to the workplace while a matter is further reviewed and investigations are undertaken.”
Mr Redshaw uploaded the video to his Facebook account on April 9, where it was widely shared, with many commenters strongly denouncing the man’s conduct.
He said this prompted the staff member to come to his house and apologize in person, but he did not accept the apology.
He said he was happy to see the department and the school taking the matter seriously, and that a school staff member told Cyrus’ mother that they were “disgusted” by this. that they had seen in the video.
Mr Redshaw said his son ‘loved athletics’ and was just doing what he loved when the abuse started.
He said Cyrus was fine, but it was not the first time he had suffered such abuse.
“Cyrus is still – it still breaks him a bit,” Mr Redshaw said.
“We haven’t kept him out of mainstream society, so he’s doing quite well.
“To be honest, he spends all his time with s— at school, with other kids laughing at him.
“But the worst thing is that this guy is a [staff member].”
Attempts were made to contact the staff member.
If you or someone you know has been affected by this story, please call:
- Lifeline 13 11 14
- Beyond the blue 1300 224 636