Mum an­gry at hav­ing to take dis­abled daugh­ter home af­ter op

Solihull News - - FRONT PAGE - ANNETTE BELCHER annette. belcher@ trin­i­tymir­ror. com

A FURIOUS Soli­hull mother says she has been forced to take her dis­abled daugh­ter out of school – be­cause a makeshift uni­form to fit her body cast con­tra­venes its dress code.

Lacey- Jai Stokes re­turned to Smiths Wood Pri­mary Academy on Tues­day af­ter un­der­go­ing a ma­jor op­er­a­tion, dur­ing which sur­geons had to break her col­lar bone and shoul­der.

But when the seven- year- old turned up, she was told that her clothes did not meet the school’s dress re­quire­ments.

Mum Chantel Stokes said she was left with no al­ter­na­tive but to take her daugh­ter back home again.

Lacey- Jai has brachial palsy, a con­di­tion which af­fects the mus­cles, and re­cently un­der­went ma­jor surgery.

The op­er­a­tion has meant that she has to wear a cast, which cov­ers her up­per body and left arm, for the next 12 weeks.

Be­cause the school’s re­quired white polo shirt would not fit, her mum sent her in a T- shirt in­stead.

“I dressed my daugh­ter the clos­est I could get to the school uni­form, given the cir­cum­stances,” Chantel said.

Lacey- Jai wore the cor­rect skirt and shoes but had to wear a dif­fer­ent top, which had been cut around the arm hole and sewn along the sides, to cater for the cast.

“Any­one can see that I have had to adapt the top to make it fit around the cast,” added the 27- year- old mum from Smiths Wood.

“We have not done this to be awk­ward or to dis­obey any rules. Lacey is meant to wear a white polo shirt but it is short- sleeved and, be­cause she has to wear a pon­cho in­stead of a coat at the mo­ment, I wanted her to wear some­thing long- sleeved un­der­neath.

“My daugh­ter has been left dev­as­tated by this and was cry­ing her heart out at the school gates.

“She just wants to be at school, learn­ing. She was cry­ing the day be­fore, beg­ging to go back to school.

“Lacey has a dis­abil­ity and re­quired this op­er­a­tion. She has this cast on for the next six weeks and then has to wear another one

for another six weeks. What is my daugh­ter meant to do in the mean­time?”

Head­teacher John Tal­bot said: “We have a duty of care to­wards the chil­dren who at­tend this school and, as a re­sult, we would not nor­mally com­ment on any in­di­vid­ual is­sues.

“How­ever, we are aware that in this in­stance the par­ent has cho­sen to place this mat­ter in the pub­lic do­main and there­fore we be­lieve that, in this in­stance, a re­sponse is ap­pro­pri­ate.

“To en­sure the safety of the pupil and to en­able them to re­turn to the school as soon as pos­si­ble, the school im­me­di­ately un­der­took a risk as­sess­ment with the full co- op­er­a­tion of the par­ent to iden­tify what was needed for a safe re­turn. Part of the agree­ment for the pupil re­turn­ing to school, was that they would wear the school uni­form which the par­ent agreed to. Un­for­tu­nately, the par­ent then did not ad­here to this agree­ment and when asked why, de­cided to take her child out of the school. The school has re­ceived no com­plaint to date.”

Lacey- Jai Stokes was taken home from Smiths Wood Pri­mary Academy by her mum Chantel af­ter a dis­pute over uni­form

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