Desperate Blackpool mum pulls disabled daughter out of school after years of alleged ableist bullying

A Blackpool mum pulled her disabled daughter out of school after years of alleged bullying led to threats of arson.

By Wes Holmes
Tuesday, 24th September 2019, 3:53 pm
Calla Freeman and her mum Alex
Calla Freeman and her mum Alex

Calla Freeman, 15, lives with chromosome 19 deletion disorder, a rare genetic abnormality which causes delays in physical and mental development.

Her mum Alex, 47, says she suffered for years at the hands of bullies who mocked her disabilities at Unity Academy, where she was studying for a GCSE in hair and beauty.

She was horrified to find text messages to her teenage daughter threatening to ‘put (her) house in flames’.

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One of the bullies threatened to 'put (her) house in flames'

She said: “Because Calla can struggle to put sentences together, they find it very funny. It got worse since she started limping and wearing a splint.

“They call her names, push her and trip her up. She was threatened with being beat up.

“Emotionally, she has shut herself away. She’s been scared to go out. She’s not been her happy, bubbly self like she used to be.”

Mrs Freeman, of Milbourne Street, says she complained to Unity Academy several times, but her daughter continued to be bullied.

In desperation, she decided to pull Calla out of the school at the start of the new term and enrol her in Aspire Academy instead.

She has raised a formal complaint against Unity.

A spokesman for the school said: “We are in the process of responding to a formal complaint raised by Mrs Freeman, who has been informed as to when a response will be provided by. We can confirm that subsequent to the initial complaint, several additional communications have been received from Mrs Freeman all of which will be responded to in line with our complaints policy.

“The academy has been liaising closely with the SEND team at the local authority to ensure that the actions put in place by the academy were in line with correct procedures.”

Mrs Freeman said: “I intend to fight them all the way because I’m sick and tired of them.

“They have done nothing to keep my daughter safe, and they seem to have rewarded people who have bullied her because they are academically gifted and my daughter isn’t.”

She added: “I have written to the school, followed procedure, nothing has been done... They are aware of her disabilities but have left her to struggle and be harassed by bullies, which has caused Calla stress and anxiety.”

At the time of The Gazette making contact with the academy, the school’s response to Mrs Freeman’s complaint was still being prepared in line with its complaints policy.