Students protest in solidarity with ill Derbyshire teenager after school allegedly refuses to allow her to wear cap
Students have protested in solidarity with a Derbyshire teenager who has allegedly been told she cannot wear a cap to school, despite her losing her hair due to illness.
The group of around 50 teenagers stood outside Heritage High School, in Clowne, this morning in support of their classmate, Ella Goodwin and say they will continue to do so every day until their demands are met.
It comes after Ella’s parents, Shaun and Joanne, called on the school to allow the Year 9 pupil to wear a baseball cap and hoodie during the school day to allow her to ‘maintain her dignity’.
Protest organiser, Aimee Burnell, is in the same year as the 13-year-old and after hearing her story said she decided to round up her fellow students to call for better understanding of her situation.
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Speaking at the protest, she said: “Me and my friend saw online that Ella had a disease that was causing her to lose her hair and we thought why don’t we say something online on social media and why don’t we all gather outside of school and get everyone there to show the school that we care about her.
"That’s what we’ve done, we’ve gathered about 50 people with signs to fight for her. We're staying out until the buses come and then go home but we’re going to do it every single day until they allow her to come to school.”
It is alleged the group, who were all wearing caps as a sign of solidarity, were locked outside the school gates as they protested but this has not been confirmed.
Nikki-dawn Lindley, whose son joined the protest, added: “The kids have gone wearing hats and the school has refused to let them in and closed the gates not informing any parents just sent out a msg saying your child has not registered. This girl deserves some dignity and wants to be in school bit is been refused on a silly uniform policy.”
Ella, from Clowne, has been battling chronic recurrent multifocal osteomyelitis (CRMO) for over two years, a rare and serious disease which causes severe pain and swelling in the bones, and has recently lost large parts of her hair.
Speaking to the Derbyshire Times on Friday, Shaun said the family had been told “point blank ‘no’ she’s not wearing it” – however Heritage High School said discussions remained ongoing around whether Ella can wear cap and hoodie.
A school spokesperson said: “We are continuing to do everything we can to ensure the student and her family are appropriately supported through this challenging period.
"We are currently in discussions about making further necessary arrangements, including around uniform requirements, to ensure she feels as comfortable and supported as possible when at school.”
Over the weekend, a petition calling on Heritage High to change how they treat their students was set up and it has now gained over 1,100 signatures.
The Derbyshire Times has contacted Heritage High for further comment.