Dad's anger at school wrong message

A FRANTIC search involving police was sparked after an Ipswich school wrongly informed a pupil's parents that their daughter had failed to arrive for class.

A FRANTIC search involving police was sparked after an Ipswich school wrongly informed a pupil's parents that their daughter had failed to arrive for class.

Mike North feared the worst when staff at Westbourne High called two hours after he had dropped 12-year-old daughter Michaela at school to say she had not arrived.

But after a four-hour search, which included enlisting the help of police officers, Mr North was contacted again to say Michaela had in fact been in school the whole time.

The 62-year-old market worker, of Donegal Road, said: “She's been having a few problems with bullying so she was tearful when I dropped her off, which made me even more terrified when the school said she wasn't there.


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“At first, I wasn't too worried. I thought she'd slipped out and gone to her nan's house, but when I called she hadn't been there either.

“We made some calls to see if there was anywhere she might have gone. We were really starting to panic - you instantly think of Holly and Jessica.

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“I called my wife at work and she came straight home from Claydon, then I called the police and they arrived. They took a description which was sent out to their patrol cars.

“The officer said she was going to join the search but first needed to search the house and garden. That's when it really started to hit me. We were all in tears.”

Mr North said that four hours after the first warning, a second call was made to his wife Sally, apologising and admitting Michaela had been there all along.

While clearly relieved, Mr North said their feelings quickly turned to anger.

He said: “I was mad when the school called. I couldn't believe they had made a mistake like that.

“We have had a letter of apology, but I have no faith in the school anymore.”

Chris Edwards, headteacher at Westbourne High School apologised for the mistake and said: “We have a policy where we phone home if we don't know why a pupil is absent.

“Michaela had been having some friendship problems so we gave her the option of going to a social inclusion unit. She had gone there, so she had not registered.

“We erred on the side of safety.”

What do you think of the school's mistake? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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