Girl, 12, threatened with knife at La Sainte Union

Family want place to be found for distressed daughter at Maria Fidelis

Thursday, 13th January — By Tom Foot

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La Sainte Union said the incident was ‘isolated’

A TWELVE-year-old girl was threatened with a knife at a top secondary school.

The pupil’s family have now removed her from La Sainte Union in Dartmouth Park and are asking why the council cannot find her an alternative place at Camden’s other Catholic secondary school, Maria Fidelis.

The girl’s mother said her daughter did not want to go back to LSU and had been left “distressed” by the incident in November.

“She was crying when I spoke to her,” she said. “She even went to a lesson for two hours until she came out to the toilet to call me. The school didn’t call the police because they said that was not policy.”

She added: “On top of all this, she hasn’t been able to get into Maria Fidelis.

“We are a Catholic family. That’s the alternative to LSU in Camden. She is sitting on her bed, begging for education.”

LSU has upheld some of the mother’s complaints and in a letter to the family said it “failed in its duty to contact you as early as possible”.

It added: “This was because they [teachers] were dealing with the urgency of the situation and the impact it had on other students.

“Although the school strives to provide a caring environment it admits it could have done more to comfort [the girl] during a very stressful time.”

A bulletin to all parents from the school said the “serious episode” was “the first time such an incident had occurred at the school”.

“Additional psychological support has been provided for students,” said the school adding: “This is a shocking event which has shaken the community of the school.”

It confirmed a knife had been “intercepted” and that a “permanent exclusion” had been issued.

Maria Fidelis has told the mother they have 16 children already waiting for a place at the school in Somers Town.

A Camden Council spokesperson, speaking on behalf of LSU, said they were in regular contact with the family and that in-year applications were handled by the individual schools.

“This was a very distressing incident for the entire school community, and the headteacher took immediate disciplinary action against the individual in question.

“All risk of harm was swiftly removed and the school’s focus was on supporting the students and informing parents,” they added.

“The school worked to inform the whole school community of the facts, including a special team who worked with the year group affected, delivering a special assembly, taking time to listen and care for the students, and organising follow-up counselling for students who were emotionally affected by this event.”

The council spokesperson added: “The council is very relieved that no one was harmed, are reassured that this was an isolated incident at a school with a reputation for being safe, calm and orderly, and will not hesitate to support schools to take appropriate disciplinary action on the rare occasions that it is required.”

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