From online abuse to child abuse. A school that never learned its lesson.
As many of you may know, Stanbridge Earls School, Romsey, Hampshire is at the centre of serious child abuse scandal. The school was defended by disgraced MP Caroline Nokes who said it should remain open despite the seriousness of the situation.
We took the view that children were at risk and the school should close until such time it was deemed safe by Ofsted. As a result, we were subject to extensive trolling and abuse by anonymous members of staff, parents and other senior people on social media who defended the school which we have reported. We are currently exposing the identities of these people.
The first of these is Helen Owen who is on Twitter as @legendreader from Andover and secretary of the Friends of Stanbridge Earls School who describes me (amongst other things) as a ‘violent racist’. She is also a learning support teacher at http://www.vigo-inf.hants.sch.uk/2220-index/2220-our-school/2220-staff.htm
These are my emails to the headteacher at Stanbridge Earls, Mrs McMurray, whose first response to my arrival at the school today spoke volumes.
—— Forwarded Message
From: Matt O’ Connor <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 05 Jun 2013 16:44:08 +0100
To: <email@example.com>, <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Cc: <email@example.com>, <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Fathers 4 Justice <email@example.com>, Andrea Cox <Andrea.Cox@stanbridgeearls.co.uk>
Subject: Stanbridge Earls Parental Abuse
Dear Mrs McMurray,
I am disappointed that you have refused to say what – if any – action you are taking to stop representatives of Stanbridge Earls School using social media to abuse other parents and campaigners like myself.
To date I have asked you to phone me – you have refused.
I visited the school at the time I said I would this morning (I missed your email which was sent at 23.17 last night) – you refused to meet me.
When I arrived I was threatened with the Police – simply for asking what action you are taking to deal with abusive parents and staff at your school.
When I said I would call the Police myself so they could deal with the matter of abuse by parents at Stanbridge Earls, you backtracked but still refused to discuss this matter.
For the sake of a brief conversation or telephone call, this matter would have been resolved.
Your failure to deal with this matter indicates that not only has Stanbridge Earls school harboured abusers, but is supported and run by people who are themselves abusers or think abuse is perfectly acceptable.
Your school is not only unsafe and facing the gravest allegations of rape and sexual abuse, but you continue to encourage a culture where abuse of all kinds is rife and goes unchallenged.
Given your school faces closure, I would have expected you to enforce the highest standards amongst staff, parents and pupils.
Instead, the schools death spiral is a tragedy for the children who attend the school and deserve better than this.
I have now passed this matter over to the relevant authorities and our campaign team for future action in the near future.
More about the Stanbridge Earls Scandal
On 04/06/2013 16:17, “Matt O’ Connor” <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
Dear Mrs McMurray,
We have been critical of Stanbridge Earls School and believe it should close until such time all outstanding enquiries ref child abuse are investigated.
Our position has regrettably attracted a torrent of abuse (much of it on Twitter) from parents at the school including from Helen Owen, Secretary of the Friends of Stanbridge Earls School in which she has (amongst other abuse) described me as a ‘violent racist’.
It is saddening to see a school already trapped in the mire of controversy, being pulled even further into disrepute by parents who are content to dish out abuse, this time of a different nature.
Helen Owen is not an ordinary parent, she holds a position of seniority and represents the public face of the school.
As such I hold the school responsible and intend to travel to the school tomorrow morning to discuss this with you at 10.00am in the event this is not resolved.
However, if you can assure me that the school will address this matter with the utmost urgency, we can avoid this situation escalating which would inevitably see our organisation pulled into the controversy, something I am sure both of us wish to avoid.
I look forward to hearing from you shortly.