Sandra and Roger Long claim their daughter, Jade, was turned away from Thomas Lord Audley School yesterday because they objected to the way it proposed to discipline her for a playground brawl.Well, it wouldn’t be the first time a school had sought to do such a thing. But that’s not necessarily the story here:
Mr and Mrs Long, of Monkwick Avenue, complained to the secondary school last week after learning the 12-year-old was to receive a different penalty to the other child involved in the fight.Fights, like tangos, take two – but usually one leads.
So, that being the case, why shouldn’t the penalties be different?
Their daughter was to be isolated while the other child was to receive a detention.Perhaps the school felt that some of the fault here lay with the example the couple were giving to their daughter over this, and that, on reflection, they’d been too lenient with her?
The couple said when they complained, saying the school should punish both children equally, it increased their daughter’s punishment to one day’s exclusion.
That is, after all, the risk you take, when you say ‘Hey! This isn’t fair! I demand a review!’.
Mrs Long, 35, said: “I understand the school can’t allow that behaviour, but if they think isolation is the appropriate punishment, then both children should have received it.It might be ‘punishing her for your actions’, and it might not – and since when was it ‘fair’ to give an initial aggressor no more punishment than their victim, if that is the reason for the discrepancy?
“In that instance we would have gone along with it, but she received a harsher punishment than the other child. Now, because we have complained, it is punishing her for our actions – that’s totally out of order.”
Mrs Long added: “When she came back from school yesterday with her dad, she was in tears.It’s almost as if – to Mrs & Mrs Long - these consequences aren’t down to her own behaviour in getting into a fight, and rather are only down to the school’s actions, isn’t it?
“She is really upset about it, as one of her goals this year was 100 per cent attendance.
“That’s gone out of the window now and even if that doesn’t go on her record, she has missed out on lessons.”
Jonathan Tippett, executive headteacher of the Stanway Federation, which includes Thomas Lord Audley School, said: “If any parent feels a school has acted unreasonably by excluding their child from school, they have a right to make their views known to the governing body.Maybe if they lose here, they’ll all get the cane!
“Mr and Mrs Long have now exercised that right and they will be given the opportunity to make their representations to the governing body in the near future.”