Mum's anger after Derbyshire teenager ‘banished from school prom because she is pregnant’

A frustrated Derbyshire mum says her teenage daughter has been ‘banished’ from attending her school prom because she is pregnant.

By Alana Roberts
Thursday, 13th May 2021, 12:37 pm

Joanne Smedley, 35, says she is locked in a battle with teachers at Heanor Gate Science College who she claims are refusing to allow her 16-year-old daughter to attend her end of year prom.

Meesha who is currently 29 weeks pregnant, is taking part in virtual home learning on advice of the school as she prepares to give birth in July.

The secondary school pupil, from Heanor, had been looking forward to prom in June as a final farewell to her classmates and is devastated that she may now be unable to attend.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Heanor Gate Science College

Her mum, Joanne, said: "Meesha’s absolutely gutted and she’s said she feels so stressed and she’s getting worked up about it. I’ve said this to Mr Phillips – the associate assistant principal – they’re saying it’s to keep her safe but mentally it’s affecting her more and it’s getting her into a state.

"This, I believe, is causing her more distress. It’s like they want to hide her away, like she’s an eyesore.

"She's been dreaming of this for so long so we went prom dress shopping, it was so hard to get a dress for a pregnant woman but we found one. I spent nearly £400 on this dress.

"I’m a single mum so I struggled but I saved up and I’ve done it. It’s non-refundable and then we’ve had all this.

"They won’t tell us anything, I’ve even asked for it in writing but as soon as we asked that’s when they cut off communcation.

"Now they won’t even talk to me or my daughter.”

Joanne said she got in touch with school leaders at Heanor Gate Science College after not receiving a prom ticket for her daughter and was allegedly told she could not have one because she is pregnant.

Since then, she claims the school has constantly changed their reasons as to why Meesha cannot attend but refuses to give her anything in writing.

"They’ve changed their story so many times. First it was their insurance, then it was the policies and procedures, then they said it was safeguarding, then changed it to health and safety,” Joanne added.

"It's just discrimination, they can't give me a reason why. I’ve looked into their policies and she would be classed as medical which states that someone with medical conditions would not be excluded and that’s what they’re doing.”

The Derbyshire Times has reached out to Heanor Gate, who say that a final decision on whether Meesha can attend prom is yet to be made.

Executive Principal Stephen Huntington added: “There has been a risk assessment in place for the student in question since December 2020 around the pregnancy and her attendance in school, alongside the Covid 19 Risk assessments.

"Any decision around the Prom will take these RAs into account and a further RA of the event itself and the stage of pregnancy/health of student in question.”

A message from Phil Bramley, Derbyshire Times Editor

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper.