Support parents who have Mental Health Disorders through the school complaints process.

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On 12th December 2017. I went to collect my youngest daughter from her primary school. That day nothing was different in that I had often arrived late to collect my daughter on previous numerous occasion. Not something i'm proud of but that's the truth and i wanted to be totally honest so you can have the whole truth about what I was going through, during that time which had greatly impacted on my lateness that day plus during.

In february 2017 of the same year I had suffered a breakdown and there had been a rollercoaster of life changing events which greatly affected my Mental Health. To the point where I wanted to end my life.

I reached out for help from my GP who agreed it would be in my best interest to go into hospital. Which I agreed to and I made good process within three days I was granted permission to leave.

This was my first day within a Mental Health hospital. I was lucky to have the support of my mother who looked after my four children for me during this time. I later remained with my mum for about a month. To get my health back on track. Not only for that reason but the police had to forced entry to my home during my crisis. Which had caused great damage to my front door. 

Sadly what followed later was that the council failed to board up my door. It later remain broken until september 2017. I had to reach out to get the support of my care coordinator, support worker and GP. They tried and the council continued to make up lies about why the repair had not been carried out. 

In the end was left with no choice and contacted a lawyer who got the ball quickly rolling a ensure my door was replaced. The council then chose to settle out of court. Then during the months that followed I was given the runaround by the same council to move in. 

I suffered flashbacks and my Mental Health began to wearaway. I found that sleep was impossible and grew afraid of leaving my home. I would have anxiety attacks daily. About my children going to school and opening my front door was a daily battle.

Then My eldest daughter was being tested for skin cancer and it hit me hard. I just started to feel like had my Mental Health caused my child to get sick. My daughter is my rock and has been my main support during my time as a parent and while in a crisis. So felt like the weeks felt like months and minutes became hours.

Today I know my daughter now does not have Skin Cancer. The test came back fine and she is doing great.

I would arrive to drop my youngest daughter late when in a crisis but it got to the point where I was late day in day out. I noticed it was causing nuisance at the school for the class teacher and office staff rightly. My daughter would plead with me to allow her to go home by herself from school. I explained daily that she wasn't ready and that she needed to show me she was good at checking the roads. 

Each day together we both practice with traveling to school. Sadly I felt she was still not ready but started to fear I would be frustrating her class teacher to the point my child would often make mention of comments being made to her, about this subject and other unrealed matters.

Then I recieved a fine from the school and I went in and spoke to office staff. I requested a consent form and made mention that would it be possible for my daughter to be granted permission to be released from her teacher at the end of the school day. That I would like her to remain in the office if i'm late, as she is still not good at crossing the roads. I requested this verbally and asked the lead receptionist if this was possible before handing over the form.

I asked her do I need to write it on the form. She replied no that she would let them know. I felt relieved and truly believed that not only would my daughter by safe until collection, but also I would somehow become exempt from the late fee.

I made it my duty to inform the class teacher of this request, to ensure she had been informed to prevent any confusion. This agreement was working as in that I would always collect my daughter from the office. The same office lady agreed with me, as I told her if it can't be done I won't put the form in.

At no time did the school ever inform me that this agreement was later going to be broken. They never contacted me on that day in question that they would be sending her home alone.

My child has never gone to and from school without an adult. She has never travelled alone on public transport alone, let alone gone to any local shop or nearby park. If ever I was unable to collect her I would always inform the school, That her father, grandmother or teenaged sibling would be collecting her. I feel very let down by her school. Who have done this to my child, having known all the facts around my health and personally circumstances.

I believe I put in the form in late September or the mid October of 2017. The agreement was working as during that time. I would collect my daughter from school on always and she would be safe in the office with a member of staff at all times until I would collect her. I felt really bad when i would collect her late. The energy  not there within me to sleep at night. So I would often over sleep and struggle to arrive on time.

On the 12th December 2017 I made my way from my new flat, I was late by twenty mintines. I went to office straightway and apologized for my lateness. I was not informed until after half an hour that my daughter had been sent home.

After having being told that my daughter maybe in after school club at the back of the school. I return straightway to the office to inform them she is not there. I then was told they may have not come down yet. It's now 4pm and i'm starting to sense something is't right. I wait for a moment and then go to check the playground area, as there are children playing football in the pitch. I then am told no year four child is in the pitch by the same coach.

I return to the office and check the after school club and go back and forth to communicate with the office staff that my daughter is not there or anywhere within the playground.

The lead office staff contacts now the class teacher at this time. It's then that i'm told my daughters name was on the list to go home alone. I explain to the teacher that my daughter never goes home alone ever. I always collect her and that we have recently moved to a new house. The teacher follows after me and explains the school recently updated their system and my daughters name was on her list.

My daughter was not outside the new house, and it is then I decide to call the police.What happens later my home in seach by a single police officer and I get asked to remain inside my flat.

To date I have not received a written apology and my complaint around this day is still has been unheard by my daughter school. I have been sliented but I feel the need to bring this issue to the parents as this sadly has not been the first time the school has failed to acknowledge and investigate my complaints.

As once before while in year two my daughter was sent home by mistake.We later found her own on the road by myself. My and brother I were while making our way to the school. At the sametime there was no consent given for them to do so. No action has been taken against any staff member who had a duty of care to my child. The school has chosen to just whitewash the whole events. 

I understand there with be many who are angry me that I was late, I too am greatly sorry that I was believe me. If you have ever experienced that feeling not being about to find your child or them going missing you will understand why I feel the need to go not only into great detail.

 I can not sit back and allow my voice to go unheard, as I feel that this has now happened twice. Parents have a right to know that all schools will look into their complaints fairly without bias. Weather they be an academy school or not.

I want you to sign this petition for the children who maybe failed again and again by schools who think they can have the last say about the safety of all our children while in there trusted care. I'm asking for the Lambeth community to ensure that we stand together now, when the life of a child has been placed at harm's way.

Today i'm asking parents who have been failed by their child's school, during the complaints progress to stand with me, as all children deserve to be safeguarded against abuse and neglect.

By signing this petition you can help ensure our children's futures are brighter and safer. As the parents of our children we need to be heard and treated with respect in spite of our Health conditions, by the schools our children attend.

By signing this petition you with be not only ensuring, that some of the most vulnerable people in our society are supported when raising complaints directly to schools. You will be ensuring that discrimination is wiped out within our school system against those who seek to abuse their power.

To date I have not received any support from the local authority (Lambeth Council/Child services) or Educational services around my complaint. They have not acknowledge my complaint at anytime or apologised. I have removed my daughter from the school in question, which I have chosen not to name for legal reason. However I will and am ready to do so, if it means we can prevent this happening to another child and another family. 

 

Yours Sincerely

Charlene Harper 

 

 

 



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