Hearing of the death of an asthmatic child because his school did not take timely and suitable action, brought back memories from sixteen years ago, when my child had an accident in the school playground. The child was seen to be in pain. Young school friends were supportive and sympathetic. My child was taken to the head teacher’s office where the head kept a watchful eye. Neither parent, or any of the relatives on the contact list were called during that day.

After the school day, I was deeply concerned to see my child white and in such great pain. A nurse at the local cottage hospital signalled to me that she thought there might be a fracture. As it was too late in the day to get a doctor to examine the injury or obtain an X-ray, the nurse applied suitable first-aid and arrangements were made for the investigations and follow-up doctor’s appointment for first thing the next morning. A fracture was confirmed.

As a consequence of the manner in which this incident was handled by the head teacher, we wrote to the school. The reply was unsatisfactory and I asked for a meeting, at which the head defended herself with offence. As parents, we set out in writing, future procedures that we wanted to see put in place, should any similar problem occur.

We required: there must be suitable records within schools and they must be referred to. In our case there were contact details with the school, which were not utilised. Staff are not expected to be medically trained and it should not be assumed by anyone in a school that they have all the medical skills required for all situations. We insisted that parents/relatives be contacted and authorised qualified medical assistance and assessment always be sought.

All these years later, I find it dreadfully upsetting, woeful, to hear that a school still did not have proper procedures for ill or injured children in place, and that there seemed to be a blind jobsworth culture prevailing. Where was simple common sense in the case of a child who was gasping for air?



  1. What happened in this matter, sounds disgraceful. Where was compassion and humanity? Hiding behind the lack of procedures, doesn’t cut any ice with me.

    I wonder if there is a case for involuntary manslaughter…. now, there’s a thought.

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