A six-year-old Cleveleys boy whose ear was split open by a bully who chased him down and threw him into a bench has been forced to continue to share a school with his attacker, as teachers say they cannot exclude her.
Freddie Hughes was seriously injured by another pupil at Anchorsholme Primary Academy on November 22, when it is alleged she ‘hunted him down’ during playtime and ‘took a grab at him’ before pulling him and causing him to fall into the picnic bench.
He was rushed to hospital and had to have emergency surgery to repair his right ear, which was split open in the attack.
Horrified, his mum Sian complained to the school – but was told that the girl who injured her son would not be excluded from classes, as ‘the intention was not to cause such a severe injury’.
Freddie Hughes and mum Sian
She said: “Freddie is paying every price, while the child who hurt him remains in the classroom. I strongly feel like she has just gotten away with it because of her age. But she’s clearly capable of causing such a serious injury; there has got to be some sort of repercussion for that.
“I don’t believe she should be at that school at all. Not only has she put my son in the hospital, but he had to have surgery. His ear was practically split in half – it went through the cartilage. There was so much blood we couldn’t see where it was coming from.
“I don’t feel like this is the end of things. From what I’ve been told by other parents, the girl’s behaviour is no better than before, and I don’t think this will be the last instance of violence from her.
“Freddie was simply her target for that day, and she has caused these horrific injuries, and I don’t believe she won’t do it again.”
Freddie in hospital
Freddie was forced to miss three weeks of school while he recovered from the attack, and only recently went back.
Following the incident, Sian, 32, said the girl received a week-long suspension, but returned to the school long before Freddie was well enough to return – and has allegedly returned to her bullying ways.
Freddie was not known to be one of her regular victims, but he had told his mum that she had called him names and scribbled on his work in the past.
“This could have happened at any school,” Sian, who lives on North Drive, said. “I’m not slating the school or the head teacher at all; it’s a situation any school could have been put in. But surely for something like this, there should be stricter rules in place to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Freddie needed surgery to repair his ear
“Understandably there were a lot of tears when I arrived at the school. Freddie was very distressed. Other than that, I’m in awe of him and how brave he has been. He hasn’t complained – but over the past week he’s started calling out in his sleep, shouting ‘no’ or ‘help’, and he’ll wake up sweating.
“As a mum, I feel like my job is to protect him, and I wasn’t able to do that Now I feel like I have to do everything possible to get him some form of justice.
“She has done this to him, and yet everything seems to be about protecting her, not him. Everything seems to be about her – but what about my son? What is being done to protect him?”
She added that she had reported what happened to police, who promised to visit the school – but no such visit was made, and officers are now ignoring her calls.
Due to the girl’s age, she cannot be held criminally responsible for her actions and so the matter was left with the school.
“I would like to see her parents own up to what she has done,” she said. “If we can’t hold her accountable for her actions, why can’t we hold her parents accountable?
A petition called ‘Justice for Freddie’, urging Anchorsholme Academy to take further action, has been signed more than 400 times.
Graeme Dow, head teacher at Anchorsholme Academy, said: “We are all saddened that a pupil has received an injury while at school and have continued to offer him and his family support.
“An investigation was carried out by the school in consultation with Blackpool Council and the Sea View Trust to ascertain the cause of the injury. The investigation concluded that the intention of the pull was not to cause such a severe injury. As such appropriate consequences were put into place in response to the incident.
“School will continue to monitor both children involved and give the necessary guidance and support as required.”