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Disabled schoolboy attempts to take his life following school suspension

Nadine Moore with her arm around her son Liam sitting on a sofa with their dog

A mother from Australia claims her disabled son attempted to take his own life after he was accused of touching a support worker.

Liam was 16 at the time when he was handed a four-day suspension from school after he put his hand on a student support worker’s face to move them towards him after losing his temper in the classroom.

His mum Nadine Moore says the incident, which occurred in 2021,  was classed as assault leading to the boy’s suspension from Woolgoolga high school.

Moore, a disability advocate in Coffs Harbour, requested to be present when teachers spoke to her son, but the school went ahead with the interview.

Liam suffered a brain injury at birth which led to physical and learning disabilities which affects his daily life.

“They had interviewed him. He was sobbing, and he said, ‘I assault women, Mum, I’m such a bad person. I don’t deserve to be alive’,” Moore told Guardian Australia.

“He just went into meltdown that night because he was told that he assaulted a woman. And then he tried to hang himself.”

Moore found her son tying a dressing cord around his neck in the bedroom, ready to hang himself.

“My beautiful kid, who wouldn’t hurt a fly, tried to kill himself,” she continued.

“My heart broke into a million pieces.”

Following the incident a school staff member asked Moore: how do you expect us to discipline him?

The distraught mum replied: “I said, it’s not your job to discipline him. It’s mine. And I said, it’s your job to make adjustments for his disability. And it’s your job to educate him.”

Moore accepts her son should not have made physical contact with the social worker, but does not class the incident as assault and believes the school did not take his disabilities into consideration.

In response, the school principal said: Any student who is physically violent, resulting in injury, or whose violent behaviour seriously interferes with the safety and wellbeing of others, is to be suspended immediately.”

“An injury was sustained by the staff member who was assaulted by Liam on this occasion, so this required immediate suspension.

 “Parental permission is not required for teachers or school executive staff to interview a student.”

“The decision to interview and resolve the issue was made in Liam’s best interest.”

Moore said the incident caused a major breakdown between her and the teachers, her aim was to place Liam in a school specifically for disabled students but the final decision was made by the education department based on school resources.

[ Nadine Moore believes Liam “wasn’t educated, he was babysat.” ]

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