Mar 7, 2013
Primary school bans six-year-old boy from wearing Christian band in class for ‘health and safety reasons’
A furious dad has slammed a school after his six-year-old son was banned from wearing a Christian band in class on health and safety grounds.
Peter Thompson’s son Eddie had been wearing the band, decorated with the Christian symbol of a fish, out of sight for six months.
But when a teacher spotted Eddie scratching his ankle she noticed the band, covered by his sock, and ordered him to hand it over.
Now he is being kept at home after he was banned from wearing the band at school on health and safety grounds.
Mr Thompson, 39, is demanding an apology from the head at Estfeld Primary in Tickhill, near Doncaster, and is keeping Eddie at home until the situation is resolved.
He has made a series of complaints and says he believes the school is discriminating against him because he is a Christian, after Eddie was told he could not wear the band at school.
Mr Thompson, from Tickhill, said : ‘I couldn’t believe it when Eddie told me what had happened. He was so upset.
‘No one has said a thing about it for all this time but when one of the teachers spotted it when Eddie had an itchy ankle and was scratching it she took it off him.
‘When I complained about this to the school they were very blunt and said bands like this were banned. I think they’re discriminating against him because he’s a Christian. This is a symbol of his faith.
‘I’m particularly angry and upset at the school because during the summer they were actually selling rubber charity bands to raise money.
‘It doesn’t make sense to me that now they say they are banned yet in the summer they were selling them on school property.
‘I don’t want his education to suffer but I don’t want to send him back at this stage and when he does go back I’m worried about how he will be treated.’
Head teacher Diane Risley said: ‘At Tickhill Estfeld the safety and well being of all pupils is taken extremely seriously and the school has a clear uniform policy in place to help families understand what pupils can and cannot wear whilst at school.
‘Whilst we do not comment on individual cases any parent who has concerns is entitled to raise these with us directly.’
Mr Thompson, a lorry driver, said Eddie picked out the band himself at a Christian bookshop six months ago.
He said: ‘We are telling Eddie that he’s now off school because of the weather. He keeps praying for snow.’
Mr Thompson, who regularly attends Bentley Baptist Church in Doncaster with his son, believes the school are discriminating against Eddie because he is a Christian.
He said: ‘We are a Christian family and Eddie’s band was a reflection of this.’
The news follows a recent victory by airline worker Nadia Eweida who won a court battle after being banned from wearing a Christian cross while working at a check-in counter. Her case was upheld by the European Court of Human Rights who ruled that she was allowed to wear it as an expression of her faith.