School Bans Mother From School Sports Event for Helping Daughter With Cerebral Palsy

Paula Liu
By Paula Liu
July 28, 2019UKshare
School Bans Mother From School Sports Event for Helping Daughter With Cerebral Palsy
Sports day at a school in the UK. (Graham Richardson []/Flickr)

A mother was banned from a school sports event as she was helping her daughter with cerebral palsy join a race, according to Daily Mail.

Jeavons Wood Primary school in Cambourne, Cambridgeshire, in the UK asked Lynn Harrison to leave after she tried to lift her daughter Tammy Harrison from a wheelchair buggy and help her participate in a race, the news outlet reported.

Lynn recalled that she had done the same last year so didn’t think there would be any issues with her helping Tammy again. But staff at the school said there were “child protection issues” with helping her daughter. This left Lynn appalled, according to Daily Mail.

“Last year, she was able to come out of the buggy and walk with me carrying her,” Lynn told the Mail. She added that her daughter enjoyed being able to participate by way of being carried and that it provided the 6-year-old an opportunity to get in more exercise.

The staff had also said that if Lynn were to help her daughter during the race, there would be “insurance problems.”

“They told me I couldn’t help [Tammy] because of insurance and child protection, so obviously I wondered and asked how she was going to take part,” Lynn said.

The school told Lynn that if she wanted her daughter to participate in the event, Tammy’s one-to-one teaching assistant would have to push her around in the wheelchair buggy. However, Lynn was unsatisfied with the answer she was given, Daily Mail reported.

“I said, ‘No, I will take her out and help her do it. She is my daughter and she needs my help.”

Regardless, the school wouldn’t allow Lynn to help her daughter, and the mother could only sit with the rest of the parents, still very unhappy with how the school was treating her daughter. Lynn said that even the parents she sat with agreed it was “disgusting” behavior on the school’s part.

“All the other children were taking part and she wasn’t,” Lynn told the Mail.

According to Cambridgeshire Live, Lynn later found out after talking to a staff member that the school had decided for Tammy how she would participate in the school event, angering Lynn even more.

“They hadn’t even given her the option of using her walker,” Lynn told Cambridgeshire Live reported. “When I pointed that out they said ‘Oh, well maybe she could use that.’ I know they wouldn’t have asked.”

“They didn’t even offer the walker which is kept at the school. I think they are just putting her to one side. They make it look like they are including Tammy but they are not,” Lynn said.

Lynn told the Mail that in a one-to-one session, Tammy had said that she wanted her “mommy to help me do it.”

“But the school never gave her that option,” Lynn said.

Despite the school’s firm stance in protecting their students, Lynn said she believed that the school was discriminating against her and her daughter. She told the Mail that she had even been told by school staff to leave the premises.

Lynn said that school staff might have thought that she was causing a scene in the school, according to Cambridgeshire Live. However, after taking to Facebook to post her interaction with the school as well as apologize to the other parents who witnessed the altercation, Lynn said, “One person even replied to me that I didn’t cause a scene and I did the right thing for my daughter.”

The mother further expressed her disdain when she recalled an incident where the school had called her to request that she travel to the school to take her daughter to the washroom. The school had said they were short-staffed therefore, needed Lynn’s help with Tammy.

“They did that because they didn’t have enough trained staff to [take Tammy to the washroom]. During sports day, I made a point and said to the teacher ‘It’s okay for me to do that but now it isn’t okay for me to help out,'” Lynn told the Mail.

“I don’t understand. When it suits [the school] I can go in and help them lift her to use the toilet, but when it suits Tammy, I can’t do it.”

Lynn expressed joy for helping her daughter participate in various activities, and said that even if it tired her out, she would help her daughter because it is rewarding to see her so happy.

The school issued a statement, according to Cambridgeshire Live, in which the head teacher of the school, Sue Wright, had requested that the story not be published.

“If a parent is upset by a decision taken by the school, then we have procedures in place to address those concerns. We always try and solve any issues informally but there is a clear complaints procedure to follow if they are not resolved,” Wright stated.

“No parent has contacted the school informally for formally to make a complaint about sports day,” Wright added.

The statement also said that the school cared very much for Tammy’s welfare and did not want to embarrass her, Cambridgeshire Live reported.

ntd newsletter icon
Sign up for NTD Daily
What you need to know, summarized in one email.
Stay informed with accurate news you can trust.
By registering for the newsletter, you agree to the Privacy Policy.