Eight-year-old suspended over blade

A BOY of just eight has been suspended after taking a blade to school, The Evening Star can reveal today.The year three pupil at Sprites Primary School, Ipswich, was spoken to by police following the incident last Friday and will not learn whether he can return until an internal probe is complete.

A BOY of just eight has been suspended after taking a blade to school, The Evening Star can reveal today.

The year three pupil at Sprites Primary School, Ipswich, was spoken to by police following the incident last Friday and will not learn whether he can return until an internal probe is complete.

Teachers found a tile cutter in the boy's bag after he had earlier made threats to another pupil during a squabble relating to a game.

Shaun Valentine, headteacher at the school, stressed that the cutter was not used although the incident has raised concerns about the safety of children in classrooms across the town.

It comes at a time when knife violence is high on the political agenda with widespread concern over the number of stabbings in recent months.

Martin Goold, Suffolk branch secretary for the National Union of Teachers, said he was not aware of the details of the incident but supported the school's action in suspending the boy immediately.

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He said: “We would support the kind of action that the school appears to be taking to make it absolutely clear that bringing anything that could be described as an offensive weapon into school or on to the streets is something we won't accept and a civilised society cannot tolerate.

“I am afraid I think schools reflect what's going on in society currently.

“It would appear that there is an increasing amount of unacceptable violent behaviour committed by younger and younger children.”

In a letter sent to parents of children at the school, headteacher Shaun Valentine said the matter was being treated very seriously.

“The pupil involved has been suspended from the school,” he said.

“However we need to look into the situation further before making a decision about the long-term future of the child at the school.

“As part of the school's ongoing investigation we have spoken with the senior education officer at Suffolk County Council, the local police as well as other parents and children who may have witnessed the incident.

“The parents of both pupils involved have been made aware of the situation. The school's staff and governors have also been informed.

“Please can I ask you as parents and carers to ensure that children do not bring potentially dangerous objects into school.

“I would like to reassure you that the safety of children attending the school remains our top priority.”

A spokeswoman for Suffolk County Council said: “The school took immediate action to ensure the safety of pupils at the school and are now investigating the matter so that appropriate action is taken.”

Has your child been threatened by another child? Are you concerned about your child's safety at school? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Knife crime increase

EARLIER this month it emerged that knife crime involving children in Suffolk has more than doubled in four years.

Offences involving the use of knives by under 18-year-olds have risen from an average of just over one a month in 2003/4 to about four a month in 2007/08.

The figures released by Suffolk police following a Freedom of Information request show there has been a 147per cent increase with 19 offences four years ago compared to 47 in 2007/8.

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