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Autistic pupil returns to school with mum after racist abuse from staff

The boy's parents secretly recorded staff racially abusing their child.

Liitutaulu ja sieni.
The boy is currently in his Ilmajoki school for two to three hours a day after staff racially abused him last spring. Image: Matti Myller / Yle
Yle News

A school pupil in Ilmajoki has returned to class this week after parents recorded staff racially abusing him — but his mum will sit in on classes 'until trust is restored'.

The boy stopped attending school last spring, when his behaviour deteriorated and his parents discovered he had been racially abused by staff.

The boy's parents confirmed their suspicions when they hid a recording device in the boy's backpack, securing evidence of racist abuse of the boy by staff.

Progress 'as planned'

Ilmajoki's head of education Janne Hakala says the case has proceeded in the way he'd agreed with the parents.

The municipality's education committee considered the case in early August, hearing from the parties involved and examining that plan.

"Among other things, resources for special needs education have increased," said Hakala, adding that Ilmajoki has appointed a special needs education rector.

In practice that's a change of job title that is not linked to the boy's case, according to Hakala. The person in that role had previously served as a learning support co-ordinator.

Mother in attendance

Hakala declined to discuss the details of the case, but the boy's mother said that the boy has been promised his own youth worker will assist in attending school.

The boy's school year started late because the person selected for that job declined the position, and a new candidate is currently being sought.

Yle is not naming the mother or child because of the sensitive nature of the case.

This week the boy returned to school, however, with his mother alongside him on a temporary basis.

Because the boy is not always able to say exactly what happened at school, his mother wants to be able to see for herself what takes place.

"Until trust is restored," said the mother.

"We have agreed that the boy is at school for 2-3 hours a day. We're taking each day as it comes."

The parents hoped that their son would be able to switch to a school in neighbouring Kurikka, but the mother says that plan did not come to fruition.

The new everyday school routine is therefore being built piece by piece in the old school in Ilmajoki.

"We really hope that our son can return as quickly as possible to a normal school rhythm," said the mother.

The parents have made an official complaint over their son's treatment to the regional administrative agency, and asked the police to investigate.

Neither investigation has advanced much, with the police saying they were still deciding whether or not to launch a preliminary investigation.

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