Bundy school ignores mum's plea

Jack Clarkson manages to beat the heat with a splash in the pool and a cooling drink from the hose.
Jack Clarkson manages to beat the heat with a splash in the pool and a cooling drink from the hose. ROB BARICH

A BUNDABERG mum has been forced to cut her son’s schooling hours after Bundaberg Special School ignored her pleas to keep him cool.

Jack Clarkson suffers from autism as well as a biological condition that affects his ability to regulate his temperature.

On hot days, this causes Jack to become lethargic, agitated and nauseous.

When mum Julia enrolled the youngster in 2006, she said the school informed her air-conditioning would be installed in the next 12 to 24 months.

But almost four years later, Jack’s classrooms are still not cooled, and on hot days Ms Clarkson has only been sending Jack to school from 9.30am to 11.30am.

“If I stop sending my son due to the heat, I risk a fine. I am doing all I can as a parent. All I want is the government to do what they promised,” she said.

The problem eased for some time when a portable air-conditioner was donated to the school but, after a breakdown, the school said it could not afford to replace or fix the machine.

“Jack is not the only student in the school with this overheating issue,” Ms Clarkson said.

“Imagine being in a wheelchair in a hot room where you can’t move to cool yourself. Jack and so many others are non-verbal so they are unable to tell someone when they are too hot.”

“These are children who already face adversity, who often have concentration issues and they are being placed in an environment that is not giving them the best opportunity for learning.

Alan Wagner, Education Queensland’s deputy director-general of infrastructure services, claimed the school was unaware of Jack’s medical condition, despite catering for it earlier this year.

“Now that they have been informed of the situation, the school will work closely with the child’s parents to ensure the student is placed in an appropriate classroom where possible,” Mr Wagner said.

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