Lily Grace Hooper ‘Forced Out’ Of Hambrook Primary School After Online Campaign
Seven-year-old Lily-Grace Hooper made headlines earlier in the year when her school banned her from using a walking cane – because of health and safely concerns.
The girl, who has been virtually blind since she suffered a stroke aged four, was told by education chiefs that other children and teachers could trip on her fibreglass walking cane.
The decision by Hambrook Primary School was widely condemned after it hit headlines in mid-November – but some parents and teachers voiced their support for the school on social media.
Now Lily-Grace’s mum says a “bullying campaign” has forced her daughter out the school.
Dozens shared photos of their children at the school and wrote posts defending the ban using the hashtag #happyathambrook.
Supply teachers, a lunchtime supervisor and a school governor have all shared posts using the hashtag on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
But Lily-Grace’s mum Kristy Hooper, who works at the school, said the scale of the pro-school response meant she felt “victimised” and that her daughter was “no longer welcome” at the South Gloucestershire school.
Hooper, 38, a mum-of-three whose two teenage sons also went to the school, claimed Lily-Grace was being punished because of the dispute.
She says her daughter is not going back to the school but will start at another local primary, which has offered to accept her, in January.
She said said: “It’s just awful.
“So many members of staff and parents who I thought were my friends have shared these posts defending the school.
“I think they are totally missing the point. This is about a small child who is vulnerable. it is about her being able to use a walking cane which gives her independence.
“I’m just flabbergasted as to why so many people can’t see that. It’s the main reason I’m taking Lily-Grace out of the school.”
Despite the Health and Safety Executive rubbishing the assessment’s findings, attempts at reconciliation between Lily-Grace’s mum and the school have broken down.
“I just feel so sorry for Lily-Grace because she has had to miss school,” said Hooper. She missed the nativity and the carol service and I feel awful about that.”
Hooper, who has been signed off work because of stress brought about by the cane drama, has also instructed solicitors to sue the school for discrimination.
Hambrook Primary School are yet to respond to requests for a comment.
South Gloucestershire Council said: “The local authority is continuing to work very hard to ensure that Lily-Grace’s education continues successfully.
“We remain in close contact with Lily-Grace’s mother to ensure that appropriate arrangements are in place for Lily-Grace’s education.”