Pupil held knife to face of boy, 9

A primary school pupil was thrown to the ground and pinned down by another boy who held a knife to his face and threatened to stab him at school.

Tuesday, 6th June 2017, 7:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 13th June 2017, 3:27 pm
Ethan Leigh, a year 5 pupil from Manor Road School was threatened with a knife

Ethan Leigh, nine, was unable to sleep or eat after his ordeal which took place on a lunch break at Manor Road Primary School in Chorley.

Now his mum Sacheen, 43, has taken him out of school and has called for more stringent measures to ensure children do not bring weapons into schools.

It comes as national figures released through a Freedom of Information Act revealed an increase in weapons found on school premises, with thousands seized across the country.

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The pupil who threatened Ethan has since been temporarily excluded, pending a further investigation.

Sacheen, 43, said: “After school on Friday my little boy told me that he and his friend, who are both in year five, were threatened with a knife.

“It was at lunchtime and they were playing on the field. They were informed that they weren’t allowed to go on the field by another boy with a knife.

“They walked away with their backs turned then the boy came running up, threw my son to the ground, pinned him to the floor and threatened to stab him.”

Since the incident Sacheen has taken Ethan out of school and she is now calling for the school to introduce measures to ensure children do not bring knives into schools, she said.

Sacheen told the Post that Ethan described the knife as similar to a Swiss army knife but longer. She is now on the hunt for another school to move her son to.

“My son was awake all weekend afterwards, he couldn’t even eat,” she said.

The school confirmed that an incident did take place but disputes some of the claims made and circumstances around the incident.

Headteacher at Manor Road Primary School Karen Marshall said the situation was dealt with “quickly and safely”.

She added: “The pupil involved is temporarily excluded, pending a further investigation.

“Events like this are extremely rare in our school and are taken very seriously.

“The safety and security of our pupils is paramount and I’d like to reassure parents that we do not tolerate this type of behaviour.”

A spokesman for Lancashire police confirmed that the force is aware of the incident and said: “The matter has been dealt with by the school.

“Officers are in the process of speaking to the parties involved.”

The spokesman added that the issue of young people taking knives or weapons into schools is “not endemic” in Lancashire.

According to data from Lancashire Constabulary in the financial year of 2016/2017 29 weapons, including an axe, were seized from secondary and primary schools across the county.

That is up from the 27 that were seized from schools in 2015/2016.

In the last year eight knives were found on school premises along with an axe, two crow bars, a spade and a metal bar.

Earlier this month the Post also reported on a year six pupil at English Martyrs Catholic Primary School in Sizer Street, Preston, who was found in possession of a knife on the premises.

It is understood that the boy had “mistakenly” left the weapon in his jacket pocket and reported the error to staff at the start of the school day.

Headteacher Annalise Howarth said at the time that the incident “was dealt with extremely quickly and safely by staff in accordance with the robust procedures we have in place.”

Responding to calls from Sacheen to introduce new measures to ensure knives are not brought into school representatives from the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and Lancashire County Council both said that schools are already a safe place for young people.

Bob Stott, Lancashire County Council’s director for education, schools and care, said that the authority takes safety and security “extremely seriously”.

He added: “But with more than 630 schools in Lancashire, and a school-age population of around 200,000, it is inevitable that a small number of incidents occur.

“Fortunately the number of incidents is very low, and serious crimes in schools in Lancashire are extremely rare, however, we do take any incident of this type very seriously.

“We’re not complacent, but our most recent pupil survey tells us that they feel safe at school, and anyone who has visited one of our schools recently will know they provide a secure environment where children enjoy learning.”

Regional secretary of the NUT Peter Middleman said: “The Department for Education (DfE) produces detailed guidance for schools on the law around the searching of pupils and the confiscation of certain items.

“Any weapons found must be handed to the police and we will work with school leaders to develop and implement

appropriate school behaviour policies which clearly set out the obligations on students, staff and governors.

“While the issue of weapons in schools, is a matter of concern - as it is in wider society - it has to be remembered that the vast majority of schools are safe places for both pupils and teachers.”