A dream school trip to Paris turned into a nightmare for one 11-year-old boy as he was left behind in Dover.
Mohammed Aashir Zabid was taken to a police station after it was discovered he didn’t have a passport with him.
But his mum Sadia Haleema – who works at the school her son attends – believed he was supposed to be travelling under a collective (group) passport which are often used for school trips.
“He was so excited and happy to go”
Aashir’s mum spoke about the incident to our sister title Bedford Today.
She said: “I took Aashir to school at 7am and they didn’t check any of his documents.
“He was so excited and happy to go. He went on the coach to Dover.”
But by 11am, the school told the mother her son didn’t have his passport on him.
Ms Haleema said: “I said I thought Aashir was going on a group passport. I gave you his passport before and you copied it and gave it back.”
School gave family two options
But she was told an individual passport was indeed needed, and claims the school gave her two options – deliver the passport to Dover or pay for someone to deliver it.
However, when it became clear the passport would not get there in time, the school phoned the mum again.
Ms Haleema said they asked for permission to put him in a taxi for the 140-mile trip home while the rest of the students and four members of staff went on with the trip.
“I said no, he is only 11.”
‘I didn’t think my teacher would leave me here’
That’s when the nearest police station was suggested, “I said do not leave him anywhere. Wait until someone comes and picks him up.
“I was crying and said don’t leave my son alone. I didn’t even confirm with them and they just left him at the police station.
“The police officer then called and allowed me to speak to my son. He was crying and crying when I talked to him – my heart was in pieces.
“He was so scared. His voice was very small and scared. He was so shocked. I kept telling him everything would be OK. He said, ‘I didn’t think my teacher would leave me here’.”
The school claims that every action that has a direct impact on a pupil is approved by parents or another responsible adult first.
‘He keeps getting nose bleeds’
The distraught mum organised for a friend to collect Aashir but says last month’s incident has deeply affected him.
She said: “This whole thing has affected his mental health, he won’t eat properly, he won’t sleep.
“I have taken him to the doctor twice. He keeps getting nosebleeds. Since it has happened, his personality has changed.
“He is angry at home crying and shouting; his school teacher has said that he doesn’t really talk at school. I am worried because my son was very kind and understanding and just good.”
Ms Haleema has also requested a meeting with the headteacher to discuss the matter further but so far says she’s not had a reply – and, she is planning to resign over the incident.
What has the school said?
Caroline Skingsley, Goldington Green Academy headteacher, said: “Due to confidentiality and safeguarding reasons, I am unable to respond to any information request that relates to a specific pupil at the school.
“However, I can confirm that we worked with the parent, the police and the local authority to ensure that at no point was any child left in an unsafe situation and that all related policies and procedures have been updated in line with relevant advice and guidance as we take safeguarding of all children very seriously.
“Goldington Green has a strict set of policies in place to support how it works with its pupils, staff, parents and third parties.
“Every action that has a direct impact on a pupil at the school is always discussed with, and then approved by their parents or responsible adults prior to any decisions being made.”