When a mother from West Drayton, London, learned that her son’s school forced him to wear a bib because he was autistic, she knew that wasn’t right. After consulting with her lawyer, she has decided to take legal action against the school for discriminating against her son because of his developmental disability. The school forced the boy to wear a high-visibility big so teachers would be able to identify him as autistic quickly.
The school thought that by giving the boy a brightly colored bib, they would be keeping him safer. They demanded he wears the embarrassing item while they let him play in the playground. The school thought that the big would help make him stand out from the rest of the students, “so teachers know he’s autistic.”
Mom Joanne Logan, who has five autistic children, two of whom are now adults, is tired of being discriminated against because her children are different. She hopes to win the landmark legal case against the school department so that other children who are considered “different” don’t have to wear the same embarrassing bib.
Logan is fighting for her son’s rights, but she is also fighting to protect other children like he seven-year-old Charlie. She doesn’t want other kids to be subjected to the same type of discrimination as her son faced.
So far, Logan has taken the offending Cherry Lane Primary School, which is located in West Drayton, to a disability tribunal. She claims that the school discriminated against her son because he has autism.
Although she cannot seek damages for the act of discrimination, she doesn’t care about the money. She just wants to protect Charlie and other children like him.
“I just want to make sure that no other autistic child needs to be put through what we did and it needs to be challenged – and if this case, if it’s won, could change that,” Joanne said. “I have had a lot of people say they’ve had similar. It can affect a child as they get older – they realize they’re different. They know all these things. They just want to be accepted… we need to stop singling out our disabled kids.”
The incident first started when Charlie was six. Last February he came home wearing the bright bib which he was given to stand out. Logan was “furious.”
She said: “I didn’t know anything about it until he told me. I went into the school and said ‘what the hell is going on – why is he wearing this bib?’ Charlie was being singled out in the playground. He was the only one wearing a bib- and that’s how discrimination starts.”
Although the school administration claims that Logan already knew about the bright big, she says they never told her about it clearly.
In one video, Charlie describes how the bright bib made him feel: “I was made to wear a yellow bib in the playground, and it felt really bad, and it felt really wrong, and I didn’t really want to because it was singling me out no one else had one.”