Blind pupil banned from using white stick at school

A blind girl has been banned from bringing her white stick to school amid concern it could trip up teachers and other pupils.

The Telegraph reported that a risk assessment completed on behalf of the school found that the cane posed a potential hazard and, instead, Lily-Grace Hooper, seven, should have ‘100 per cent’ adult support.

The newspaper added that Lily-Grace had also been asked to navigate her way around school using handrails and ‘walk carefully over all surfaces’ – but without the use of her current cane.

Common Sense Cane, a charity for blind children, provided Lily-Grace with her stick. Sarah Murray, the charity’s founder, said: “A child needs to learn to be independent and they need to start from a very young age. Why are they taking a cane away from a little girl?”

Lily-Grace’s mother said that if it had happened to a blind adult, there would be accusations of discrimination. She queried why a child should be different.

The cane supplied to Lily-Grace is longer than usual but also lighter – both features designed for her precise needs and age. But the risk assessment said a shorter cane should be used. Lily-Grace’s parents say it is unfair as she is used to the one she has.

A spokesperson for the school said the safety of all pupils had to be considered. She added that the school would be working with Lily-Grace’s parents to find a solution.

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