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Braintree: 'I won't let daughter go back to school'
9:00am Friday 22nd March 2013 in News
A MUM has vowed to keep her daughter out of school until staff apologise for searching her for a cigarette lighter.
Kelly Taylor, 14, who goes to Alec Hunter Humanities College, in Stubbs Lane, Braintree, claimed she was publicly plucked from class on Friday and searched for a lighter.
No items were found on Kelly, who said she has never smoked, but now mum Sharon has said she will not let her daughter go back to school before staff apologise for the distress.
“She is not going to go back into that school, I have told them I will teach her at home,” said Mrs Taylor, 42, who lives off Chelmer Road, in Braintree.
“Kelly has had nothing but trouble and it is such an important time for exams and choosing GCSEs, she doesn’t need this.”
She added: “I think the school went about this all wrong.
“I’m a smoker but I know Kelly will never smoke.
“The only time she ever holds a cigarette is when I’ve asked her to pass me one and the only time she has ever held a lighter is when I’ve asked her to pass it to me.
“If she was to be searched, I would be happy if the school contacted me first and allowed me to come in. I know Kelly would have nothing to hide.”
After a meeting with staff on Monday *MAR18*, Mrs Taylor has given the school until Friday to issue an apology.
In 2011, guidance published by the Department for Education gave schools the power to search pupils with their consent for any item which is banned by the school rules.
Schools are also permitted to search without consent for prohibited items which could be dangerous to others.
Trevor Lawn, head at Alec Hunter, said: "We adhere rigorously to these guidelines, always ensuring that any search is undertaken by a member of staff of the same gender as the student under investigation.
"I am concerned by the suggestion that Kelly may miss out on learning as a result of her mother’s decision to keep her away from school, so I hope that we can resolve the issue swiftly."
He added: "I do not feel that we need to apologise for taking actions in accordance with both our own policies and Government advice, with the intention of keeping our students safe."