Mum threatens to withdraw teenage son from school

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

A CRAIGAVON mother claims she has been left with no other choice than to take her 15-year-old son out of school.

Nicola Forsythe alleges that her son Noel Belshaw is being bullied at Brownlow College. She said she’s tried to get him a place at Lismore and Craigavon Senior High, but has been told they’re already oversubscribed.

“My son is not happy at Brownlow and I’ve told the principal that I shall be removing him from school at the end of this term,” said Nicola (35).

“I’ve spoke to the principals at Craigavon Senior High and Lismore, but they’ve told me they’re not taking on any new pupils this year or next.

“I’m definitely taking him out of Brownlow. I’ve had a meeting with the principal and told him my son will be finishing at the end of this term and he won’t be back. If I can’t find another school for my son in the area then he’ll not be able to finish school.”

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

Nicola, who is single mum, added: “My son used be happy and loved going school now he’s withdrawn and very down because way he’s being treated. He’s been bullied by other pupils and he’s been given a hard time by staff about his homework and his attendance.

“I got a letter this week to say he’s been put in detention for not having his homework done. He’s being penalised for us not having the Internet in the house.

“My son has had serious health problems and they’ve given off about his attendance even though I’ve made them aware of what he’s been through. He had appendicitis and an abscess had attached itself to his bowel, which was twisted.

“I’m not happy with the way my son has been treated and I’m not happy with the way the school are dealing with it.”

Nicola explained: “The SELB know about it and have advised to try sending him to another school. This hasn’t been possible.”

Brownlow Principal Stephen Creber was unable to comment on Miss Forsythe’s allegations due to pupil confidentially.

He went on to say the school operates an open door policy whereby any parent who has concerns or issues is welcome in his office to discuss them.

“Concerns or issues will be discussed in an professional, fair and open way and we will do our best to move things on in a positive way,” said Mr Creber.

“In terms of discipline and attendance all pupils are treated the same in accordance with the school rules,” he added.

According to the SELB if a child is removed from a school because of bullying the case is referred to the PPDS (Pupil Personal Development Services) within the SELB.

Education Welfare Services will work with the family to try and get the child a place at another school.

If this isn’t possible the child will be asked to go back to the original school where he or she has a place. The full support of the PPDS is available to help the child with this return.