‘SHUT IN CUPBOARD’: A mum stands by allegations that her son was treated badly in school (pic: posed by model)
A FRUSTRATED mother has accused Wolverhampton City Council of discrimination after a school in the area refused to apologise to her son for allegedly shutting him in a stationery cupboard.
The mother, who we have not named to protect her identity, claimed that in 2012 her son, then aged 11, along with other pupils, was regularly put in the stationery cupboard at Woodthorne School, in Wolverhampton, as punishment for misbehaving.
She told The Voice: “My son has asthma and the cupboard had stuff like a lost and found box with all sorts of things in it. The door wasn’t locked but it was sometimes shut and he would kick and scream to be let out. The experience has left him traumatised.”
Up to 40 parents signed a petition as a sign of protest. Further protests followed last year and dissatisfied parents – some of whom removed their children – formed the campaign group Justice for Children in School.
This prompted local education chiefs to launch an investigation which led to at least one parent receiving an apology from the school and the council.
The mother says she has been told that neither she nor her son will be granted a similar apology as there was no evidence of wrongdoing. In a letter seen by The Voice, the council explained that the independent investigation concluded that “no case to answer was found against any member of staff.”
The correspondence, dated March 27, 2014, also confirmed that “one parent received an apology as a result of the investigation,” but insisted that it “is a matter between the council, the school and that other parent.”
The mother was advised of her right to pursue legal action, but was warned that any action would be “vehemently resisted.”
She said her son, who is now in secondary school, feels betrayed.
“He feels like everyone thinks he is a liar. He doesn’t trust teachers any more.” she explained. “This has worsened the issues that he is having in school. Getting an apology would have made a big difference to him.”
Millicent Boache-Barrance, who removed her three sons from the school after “losing confidence” in school staff, said she believed there was some sort of racial and class discrimination at play.
“Why would they apologise to the white, middle-class mother and refuse to apologise to the black and working class mums?” she asked.
MP for South Staffordshire, Gavin Williamson, also got involved.
He expressed his concerns about the situation adding: “I question whether people are getting a proper grip on this issue.”
A spokesperson from Wolverhampton City Council told The Voice: “A thorough investigation, led by West Midlands Police and supported by Wolverhampton’s Safeguarding Children team, was carried out into historic allegations of abuse.”
The spokesperson added: The investigation subsequently concluded in September 2012 and the allegations were not proven. There are no grounds on which to reopen an investigation into the allegations, and no further investigation into these allegations has been, or will be, instigated.”
*Name changed to protect identity