7 year old Lily-Grace Hooper is blind and uses a cane to get around her school. Or at least she did until her school, Hambrook Primary, banned her from using the cane, claiming it posed a tripping risk to Lily-Grace’s teachers and fellow classmates.
Her mom, Kristy Hooper, has reasonably pointed out the the policy is “utterly ridiculous!” and “discrimination hiding behind health and safety rules.” Other parents and now news outlets around the world have taken Ms. Hooper’s side.
How does Hambrook Primary expect Lily-Grace to get around? They advised that she have adult supervision 100% of the time while at school and “walk carefully.”
“Her cane gives her… independence,” said Ms. Hooper. “She is growing up and doesn’t want to hold an adult’s hand all the time.”
Lily-Grace became blind after suffering a stroke as an infant. She also lives with mild cerebral palsy. Her cane was donated by Common Sense Cane, a UK charity for blind kids, and has been a huge help to her.
When the story hit the news, Hambrook Primary released the following statement: “The pupil has not been banned from bringing in their cane, we have simply asked them to not use it around school as a temporary measure until we have the chance to meet with the parent and discuss the situation. It was initially hoped that we would have this resolved within a day or two. The school’s mobility officer raised health and safety issues around the new cane following a recent risk assessment. We have to consider all of our pupils, so it is important that we have an opportunity to discuss the situation before we make any decisions. We are very keen to resolve this issue as soon as possible and have been actively seeking to engage with the parent to bring this to an agreeable conclusion.”
According to Ms. Hooper, however, no one from the school has reached out to them since the ban, and they were clearly told Lily-Grace was not allowed to bring her cane to school.