Rio-Anne Mcclenaghan was refused food for not wearing a tie
A 12-year-old girl missed lunch at school after failing to wear her tie.
Rio-Anne Mcclenaghan had her tie “grabbed and thrown in the bin” by another student at South Wigston High School in Leicestershire earlier in the week. Her mum Joanne said the school had promised to replace it, but has yet to do so.
It is the second time South Wigston High School in Leicestershire has come under fire in the past two weeks in regards to uniform-related discipline, reports Leicestershire Live.
Principal Stuart Kay said the school was aware that a student missed dinner following a conversation with a staff member about an incorrect uniform.
He added that while staff are asked to encourage students to wear the correct uniform, there is no official policy in place to refuse food over missing ties and blazers.
Joanne, from South Wigston, claims Rio was told: “No tie, no dinner.”
The 40-year-old said: “Food is not a punishment. You cannot use food as a way to discipline children. Regardless of behaviour I just don’t see how they can refuse food.”
The incident happened on Friday, September 23.
The mum-of-four added: “She’d gone a whole week without her tie and reported it being taken and put in the bin.
“It hadn’t affected her to begin with, as I had made her packed lunch – but on Fridays she likes to have a school dinner.
“She told me that canteen staff had asked her where here tie was, and she explained the situation.
“But they told her without full uniform she couldn’t have her dinner”.
Joanne Mcclenaghan posted about the incident on social media and received dozens of replies
The stay-at-home mum said she was shocked and concerned when she heard what had happened at the school, which is part of the Learning without Limits Academy Trust (LwLAT).
Joanne said she was unable to get through to the school when she rang it, so she posted about it online.
“I don’t make a habit of posting on my social media at all,” she said, “but I couldn’t speak to anyone and I wanted to know if what Rio was saying had affected anyone else.
“I posted on my Facebook and dozens of parents and even a student came forward.”
“I sent over a complaint [to the school] and received a call from the head of year who apologised profusely about the matter,” said Joanne. “I said I hoped this neglect wouldn’t happen to another child.”
She added: “I sent her to school with a packed lunch today and assured her it wasn’t her fault.
“It shouldn’t matter whether they’re in uniform or not – food isn’t something that can be taken away from them.”
Parents of students at the school who responded to Joanne’s post included one parent who claimed her son was refused dinner until he put his tie on, while another claimed her daughter was told “no blazer, no food”, and one concerned mum said both daughters were refused access to the canteen for an entire week.
Principal Stuart Kay responded to the claims to say the matter had been dealt with.
He said: “We are aware that a pupil missed lunch after being spoken to by a member of staff about incorrect uniform. This matter has been dealt with.
“It is our policy that uniform should be worn correctly throughout the school, including the restaurant. Our policy does not restrict students from receiving lunch, for any reason.
“We have spoken to all staff to ensure our behaviour and uniform policy are applied consistently. We encourage parents to speak directly to the school if they have any concerns.
“I can confirm that all staff, including dining room staff are instructed to encourage students to wear the correct uniform.
“However, they are not encouraged to refuse dinners. We do not refuse dinners as a result of uniform non-compliance”.
It is not the first time the school, in St Thomas Road, has been called out about uniform issues.
Parents complained girls were taken out of class and put into isolation for the day over the length of their school uniform skirts.
Mr Kay said at the time: “South Wigston High School has been dealing with some inconsistencies in the standard of school uniform.
“A small number of students were upset by the enforcement of our uniform policy on Monday.
“It is never our intention to create a situation where children are upset and therefore we have contacted all parents to inform them that we will undertake a review of our uniform policy in consultation with our school community.”