Mother in school row threatened with prison

Noel Belshaw and mum Nicola Forsythe. INLM 20-217.
Noel Belshaw and mum Nicola Forsythe. INLM 20-217.

A mother who removed her teenage son from school due of allegations of bullying has said that she has been threatened with prison.

It’s been four weeks since 15-year-old Noel Belshaw attended Brownlow College and his mother Nicola Forsythe has stated under no circumstances will he return to the Craigavon school.

After removing her son from Brownlow, claiming he was being bullied by other pupils and given a hard time by staff about his homework and his attendance, Nicola has been unable to find her son another school place.

Nicola (35) told the ‘MAIL’: “When the Education Welfare Officer was out at the house last week she told my son that if he didn’t go back to school

I could face prison or a fine. As if things weren’t bad enough she’s now put the weight on his shoulders that it’s his fault if his mum goes to prison.

“She shouldn’t have said that to a child.

“He’s adamant he doesn’t want to go back and I’m not going to pressure him.

“I’ve told him not to worry. If they try to send me to prison there will be world war three.”

The ‘MAIL’ reported on May 16 on Miss Forsythe’s intention to find a new school for her son.

For the past month Nicola has been trying to find another school place but with no success.

She’s filled in forms for Craigavon Senior High and Lismore Comprehensive, but has already been declined by the senior high. She says she’s appealing the decision.

The case has been referred to the PPDS (Pupil Personal Development Services) within the SELB.

Education Welfare Services have also met with the family to try and get the child a place at another school.

With no alternative school having been found Noel was asked to go back to his original school - Brownlow College.

Brownlow Principal Stephen Creber told the ‘MAIL’ the pupil was “more than welcome” to return to the school, however Nicola has refused to meet with him, saying she wants no more contact with the school.

Noel is a fourth year pupil and is due to complete one more compulsory year at school.

Nicola is a single mum living in Parkmore and a full time student at the SRC in Lurgan. She said she does not receive benefits.

She added that she was told if she was to get her son into a school in another town she’d be responsible for his travel costs

She commented: “As a single mum and a student this isn’t going to help my financial well-being.

The SELB confirmed prison or a fine are possible outcomes if a parent keeps their child out of school.