‘Cover-up’ as boy has knife in Barking playground
- Credit: Stephen Craven - MUST CREDIT
An attempted cover-up after a young boy brought a knife into a school playground has led to calls for a headteacher to be suspended.
Secrecy has shrouded the incident at Manor Junior School in Barking, with staff repeatedly denying it even happened.
It took three weeks before the truth finally emerged at an emergency meeting called by parents, when it was confirmed a year five child did bring the weapon into school.
More than 50 parents attended the meeting on Thursday last week with Cllr Rocky Gill and Jane Hargreaves, the council’s divisional director of education, youth and childcare.
The Post has been told the little boy brought in the knife to ward off a bully, amid allegations of worsening bullying at the school.
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Now concerned parents are worried about the safety of their children and have launched an online petition to get headteacher Caro Drumm suspended pending further investigation.
It comes as parents allege the head and deputy head have refused to meet them to discuss their anxieties.
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One mum, who asked not to be named, told how her eight-year-old daughter was so upset after seeing the knife she didn’t attend school for three days and has had private counselling.
“It is not about the child [bringing in the knife],” she said. “We’re angry because the incident did happen but it took us great measures to get to the truth.
“Just this week we asked for reassurance our children are safe and we were told again it didn’t happen. It’s disgusting that parents have had to take these steps when we knew it was true.”
Another mum, who also asked not to be named, said: “They say honesty is the policy. Where’s that gone? It’s gone down the toilet.”
Louise Ferreira, whose son Kyle, 10, attends the school, added the head “should have let the parents know”.
In a statement, a council spokesman said the school had “dealt with a very rare incident appropriately and sensitively and are bound by confidentiality not to discuss the issues but we can confirm that all the children’s safety has been addressed”.
He added that parents were given advice on correct procedures if they have concerns or complaints but none have been received to date.