Mother Joanne Logan will sue Cherry Lane Primary School in West Drayton, London, at the disability tribunal.
Logan accuses the school of discriminating against her son Charlie, 7, for being autistic by requiring him to wear a bright yellow bib during break times in February, 2019.
To everyone on my Facebook… last yr as u know Charlie was made to wear a fluorescent bib in the playground. I was not aware of this and I was not told. After it hit the newspapers I brought the case to my solicitor. We have been fighting very hard at court against hillingdons legal team but as I am on limited legal aid & I am unable to get any more legal aid. I now need to raise fees myself…up to £10,000 in a very limited time!!The only way to do this is with the help of my solicitor and Crowdjustice. I do not get any financial gain, all money raised goes straight to my solicitor and any money left will go into another case or charity. The money is handled by Crowdjustice. The reasons I'm doing this:- Charlie was discriminated against, this should of never of happened. It singled him out and this is where discrimination and bullying starts… This also helps other parents that are in the same situation. There is no financial gain, never has been. Schools need to change & so does the court system, tribunals rules are unclear.Tomorrow I'll be sharing a Crowdjustice page constantly. PLEASE share it or block me if u like as ur see it an awful lot!! This has been very stressful so please no nasty comments!! 😊😊
Posted by Joanne Logan on Thursday, March 28, 2019
She became “furious” after hearing Charlie complain about feeling uncomfortable about having to wear the bib at school.
“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,” he said in a YouTube video published on March 27.
The mother was especially upset because she claims she was never informed by the school that Charlie was required to wear a bib.
“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?’” she told the Mirror. “Charlie was being singled out in the playground. He was the only one wearing a bib—and that’s how discrimination starts.”
— Daily Mirror (@DailyMirror) April 5, 2019
The school’s management argues the mother already knew Charlie would have to wear the bib and other students also wear bibs in the playground for different reasons. However, Logan debates how clearly this information was relayed to her. She maintains she would not have consented, had she known exactly what this entailed.
A spokesperson from the local Hillingdon Council confirmed that “reflective vests are not compulsory wear for anyone and are only used with parental consent” at that school.
After Logan complained to the school, Charlie did not have to wear the vest anymore. The relationship with the school deteriorated so badly, she decided to move Charlie to another school.
The plaintiff, who has five autistic children, two of whom are now adults, admits she cannot seek financial compensation and is taking legal action to win a landmark case so Charlie and other children will never have to stand out among their peers again.
“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 is won, it could change that,” Logan said.
Mother-of-five sues her son’s primary school ‘after staff made the seven-year-old wear a hi-vis vest to show he was autistic’ https://t.co/aiPrhfeKSF
— Daily Mail U.K. (@DailyMailUK) April 5, 2019
She revealed she is not the only concerned parent.
“I have had a lot of people say they’ve had similar [experiences]. It can affect a child as they get older—they realize they’re different,” she said. “They know all these things. They just want to be accepted … we need to stop singling out our disabled kids.”
Simpson Millar lawyer Sarah Woosey is representing Logan and her family, and confirmed the dispute has been escalated to the Upper Tier Tribunal, which will decide whether the case can be heard.
The lawyer lodged the claim slightly more than six months after the incident with Charlie happened. Rules state that any claim must be lodged within six months, except for when the deadline falls during the Christmas or school summer holidays.
“We are now fighting hard to ensure that this case is allowed to progress, as we feel strongly that it is important to secure justice on behalf of Charlie, as well as provide reassurance to the thousands of parents out there with children who have special educational needs that schools must treat children fairly and in accordance with the law,” Woosey said.
Since Logan’s application for publicly funded legal aid has been denied she has launched a crowdfunding campaign to help pay for legal expenses.
“Initially I will be raising £2,500 ($3,260) but I then need to go on and raise as much as possible because costs could run as high as £10,000 ($13,038),” she said on her fundraising page. “All funds will be transferred directly to my legal team and anything you can contribute will make a massive difference.”
If everyone on my Facebook Pledged £10 each… Charlies case would make £4500…. Please pledge as I'm not letting the…
Please help Charlie get Justice and pledge and share.. https://t.co/YRwttS0Nqq
— AutismAwareness (@Autismsupport2) March 29, 2019
The local council said the legal proceedings have not officially begun yet.
“There is no legal case against Hillingdon Council in relation to this or any disability discrimination,” a spokesperson said. “Ms. Logan has chosen to provide elective home education for her son.”
Logan is temporarily home-schooling Charlie until he secures a place in a specialist London school that caters specifically to autistic children.
“Since he’s been out of school he’s been such a good boy. I’ve had no problems at home,” she said. “I just want him in the right place so he’s happy.”