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State must provide escorts for all students with disabilities, Lottides says in new report

Ombudswoman Maria Stylianou-Lottides

The state needs to provide escorts for all students with disabilities at all grade levels, while meeting their specific needs, Ombudswoman Maria Stylianou-Lottides said on Friday in a new report.

In a report on providing escorts to disabled students in private schools, Lottides said the state should pay for the escort, and the parents should not be required to take on that cost.

She called on the education ministry to work together with private school groups and groups for disabled people to make the necessary reforms, so as escorts could be provided for all disabled students.

Parents of these students will also need to be consulted about the credentials of the escorts the district offices will hire in the case of an agreement, she said.

Commenting on complaints made by parents, Lottides said they were concerned because the escorts provided by the district offices do not meet the specific needs of each child, and do not always know how deal with their needs.

“There is no specialised programme based on the specific needs of each child, studying in a special facility,” she said.

She added the state also needs to re-examine the credentials of escorts to ensure people are hired that can deal with the needs of the disabled children.

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