Mum pulls son out of school because 'they didn't take deadly allergies seriously'; EXCLUSIVE: Jenna Laing-Phillips has called for the law to be changed, saying she feared her son could die each time he went to school.
A mum whose son suffers from serious allergies claims she was forced to pull him out of school because she feared for his safety - and said many others are doing the same.
Jenna Laing-Phillips says she had to remove her youngest son Stanley because staff did not take his condition seriously.
She now wants the law changed to protect schoolchildren.
Despite warning staff that exposure to nuts could be deadly, Jenna said they were "dismissive" and had a "cavalier" attitude towards allergy provision.
The school denies wrongdoing and said the claims were dismissed by the Department For Education, the European Food Safety Authority and the local authority.
But Jenna said she is one of a large number of UK parents pulling their children out of school because they fear they might die.
It comes alongside high-profile cases when children have died from catastrophic allergic reactions - including one tragic boy who went into shock after cheese was thrown at him at school.
Jenna said unless schools start taking allergies seriously, more lives will be lost.
Apetition calling for new lawsto protect children in schools has been signed more than 6,000 times.
The 39-year-old mum, from Berkshire - who used to work at the school until she turned whistleblower - told Mirror Online: "If change does not happen, children will die and have died at school because of incompetence and lack of allergy awareness, care and training.
"But if things had gone gone wrong he wouldn't have come home, it's that serious.
"He could die and I felt like no one cared. I was treated like I was being over the top, like the basic allergy care I was advising was ridiculous and unnecessary
She said Stanley was "treated like a burden" and repeatedly left unsupervised with no medication available - which meant he felt "totally unsafe".
As a result Jenna took the difficult choice to remove him from school, and said she knows around 15 other families - from different schools - who have made the same decision.
"It's endemic in the education system," she said.
"As a parent it's just devastating, I can't describe how bad has been, to put your trust in others to care for your child knowing they actually aren't interested in caring or learning how to care for him correctly."
After learning that her son's epi pen hadn't been moved with him for a third time, and an eight-year-old child, she took the bold decision as just tiny traces of nuts could be deadly.
"I was heartbroken for him that he had been treated so badly by them and there was nothing else I could do but protect him from them," she said.
On one occasion, while on a family day out at Lego Land, Stanley went into anaphylactic shock when he was four.
"He had this cough that kept going and going, when I looked at his throat I could see it was closing rapidly," she said.
"It was really scary for everyone."
The following year he needed treatment after his allergy flared up on a plane to Menorca - even though there wasn't a nut in sight.
"As a parent it's just devastating, I can't describe how bad it is," Jenna said.
Stanley, now nine, suffered his first allergic reaction when he was just three, after his dad Matt kissed him goodnight having eaten cashew nuts.
When he started school, Jenna said she was given assurances that staff were prepared for Stanley's allergies.
But after learning that her son's epi pen hadn't been moved with him for a third time, she took the bold decision to keep her son at home.
She said: "I was heartbroken, but there was nothing else I could do.
"It took me a while to realise that my knowledge and attempts to create an allergy safe environment for all was falling on deaf ears, but I knew the potential serious consequences of staying quiet wasn't an option for me.
"The risk to allergic children was so significant and was even greater because we were in a school with a very bad culture that did not allow or support whistleblowing.
"He was entitled to a safe education and he wasn't given one, he was just dumped. He missed a whole year."
And with Stanley, then seven, in limbo, Jenna said she was unable to find a new school to send him to.
His education suffered, as Jenna said she had no idea how to teach him.
"I didn't care if he opened a maths book or an English book, I just needed him to know he was safe," she said.
"I told the school and the council that I wasn't home schooling him, we were just lost.
"It was the worst time of my life."
But she said despite his lengthy absence, no one from the local authority or the school made any effort to bring Stanley back into the classroom.
Jenna said: "If you take your child off for two days to go on holiday they come down on you, but he was off for a year and they did nothing."
It took a lot of pushing for him to find a place at a new school, which she said has been "absolutely brilliant".
Bright schoolboy Stanley has caught up with his classmates, and Jenna said she is proud of his progress.
She now wants to see compulsory care plans in place for children with allergies, as well as checks by Ofsted and individual risk assessments.
Jenna believes this is a Public Health Issue.
She said: "I'm fighting and calling for change where Children with medical conditions will be monitored closely, polices taken seriously and accountability and serious consequences for teachers and schools that breach their duty.
"Ofsted must step up as they currently fail to assess, check medical procedure, policy, safeguards for allergy."
In 2017 tragic schoolboy Karanbir Singh Cheema, 13, died after going into shock when a fellow pupil flicked cheese at him.
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Karanbir died 10 days after the incident at William Perkin Church of England school in West London.
And Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, 15, died after a catastrophic allergic reaction to a baguette she had bought from a Pret A Manger.
Jenna said she has been in touch with Natasha's mum, Tanya, who supports her call for a law change.
In a statement, the school said: "The school is unequivocal in making safeguarding its top priority.
"There are no recorded incidents of an allergic reaction to nuts by Mrs Laing-Phillip's son whilst in the care of the school.
"This parent raised concerns with a number of agencies such as the DFE/EFSA and the Local Authority, who following investigation dismissed them."
Credit: Jenna Laing-Phillips
Jenna Laing-Phillips with her son Stanley
Credit: Jenna Laing-Phillips
Stanley was taken out of school for a year
Credit: Jenna Laing-Phillips
Jenna said she was appalled by the lack of concern staff had about her son's allergies
Credit: Cheema family / SWNS.com
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|Title Annotation:||News,UK News|
|Publication:||Daily Mirror (London, England)|
|Date:||Jul 26, 2019|
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