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Blind Pupil, 7, Asked To Stop Using White Cane In School For ‘Health And Safety’

November 18, 2015

A blind schoolgirl has been asked to stop using her white cane in school due to health and safety concerns.

Seven-year-old Lily-Grace Hooper was told she could not use her cane at Hambrook Primary School in Winterbourne Down near Bristol.

Her mother Kristy Hooper said she was “devastated” when she was told of the decision last Thursday.

The school stressed the measure was a temporary one while the situation was discussed with the family.

Ms Hooper, who first spoke to the Bristol Post, said her daughter suffered from severe sight impairment after she suffered a stroke at four days old.

She had been using the lightweight cane in school since April without issue, her mother added.

“When I picked her up on Thursday her teacher said… Lily-Grace could no longer bring her cane into school. I was quite shocked,” Ms Hooper said.

‘Temporary measure’

“Lily-Grace is quite sad because she likes to use her cane because of the independence it gives her.”

Head teacher Jo Dent said: “The pupil has not been banned from bringing in their cane, we have simply asked them to not use it around school as a temporary measure until we have the chance to meet with the parent and discuss the situation.

“It was initially hoped we would have this resolved within a day or two.

“The school’s mobility officer raised health and safety issues around the new cane following a recent risk assessment.

“We have to consider all of our pupils, so it is important that we have an opportunity to discuss the situation before we make any decisions.

“We are very keen to resolve this issue as soon as possible and have been actively seeking to engage with the parent to bring this to an agreeable conclusion.”

Geoff Cox, from the Health and Safety Executive, said there was nothing in HSE regulations that would stop a child “from using a walking stick in school”.

He said it was up to those involved to work out “sensible” arrangements.

“I hope common sense prevails here,” he said.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. jeffrey davies permalink
    November 18, 2015 11:08 am

    teacher Jo Dent said: “The pupil has not been banned from bringing in their cane, we have simply asked them to not use it around school as a temporary measure until we have the chance to meet with the parent and discuss the situation hmmm sounds like award time to this school for over the top you cant make this up jeff3

  2. November 18, 2015 3:04 pm

    “We have to consider all of our pupils, so it is important that we have an opportunity to discuss the situation before we make any decisions.

    The school is certainly excluding one pupil by refusing to allow her to be mobile the cane is used to allow her to feel her way around the school

  3. Mazhar permalink
    November 18, 2015 4:54 pm

    The school action can be termed nothing but irrational and insane

  4. November 19, 2015 11:11 pm

    This is absolutely ridiculous! This is a case of positive discrimination because the needs of the non disabled children supersede the needs of a disabled child. I sincerely hope that the school decision makers do not experience blindness! This little girl has more to offer this world than the ignorant people who are thinking that this letter child is a threat to their sighted darlings. Shame on you!

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