BRISTOL, UK – Calling it a “health and safety” issue, a school in Britain has banned a blind girl’s white cane over fear that she might trip one of her classmates.
Lily-Grace Hooper, a 7-year-old who attends Hambrook Primary School in Bristol, United Kingdom, was notified that her cane posed a “high risk” to other students and she was no longer allowed to use it.
A risk assessment was conducted by Sensory Support Service and it was determined the girl would be better off with full adult support “100 percent” at all times, the Bristol Post reports.
Lily-Grace’s mother, Kristy, is angry as she was raising her daughter to be as independent as possible and she worries the school’s order will make her “dependent on having someone show her around, and said having a helper following her around will set her daughter apart from the rest of the pupils.”
Lily-Grace suffered a stroke when she was four days old, rendering her effectively blind. Kristy says her daughter lost her 3D vision, and became blind in her right eye. She can now only see lights and colors in her left, according to her mother.
“It is a disability, but I want to celebrate it and make sure she can become independent,” Kristy tells the Post.
“When the school told me she can no longer bring her cane into school, I just thought this must be health and safety gone mad.
“She hasn’t had any problems with any of the other students, and none of the parents have complained about it – in fact, they have all been very supportive.
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“I don’t understand where the school is coming from. Lily-Grace has taken to the cane very quickly, and she needs it as she travels to school, walks to the playground, or just being in school,” she says.
The Sun reports Lily-Grace asked for a white cane last Christmas. One was given to her by Common Sense Care, a charity for blind children.
“I am absolutely livid. What about the health and safety of my girl? I like school, they are a good school, but this really is very poor advice,” Kristy says, according to the Sun.
“It’s just ridiculous. If you took a walking cane away from a blind adult, you would say that was discrimination. It’s the same here.”
Kristy posted a video of her daughter using her cane while navigating a hallway: