A ten-year-old girl was suspended from school for wearing a clown mask in a playground prank.
Tonisha Lowe was hauled to the headteacher’s office after she was spotted donning a rubber face mask.
She had intended to play a prank on her pals and jump out at them while wearing the mask before class last Thursday, but teachers at Churnet View Middle School in Leek, Staffs., failed to see the funny side and suspended her, claiming pupils had been ‘intimidated’ and ‘threatened’.
Headteacher Steven Fryer handed Tonisha a five-day suspension up to the half-term holiday which means the year six pupil will not return to school until Halloween.
Tonisha’s mum Mandy, 47, blasted the decision, branding the school ‘pathetic’.
She fumed: ‘The school told me to collect her straightaway because she had gone to school with a clown mask and put it on in the playground and the pupils felt intimidated and threatened. I just laughed.
‘They told me they would have to exclude her. I said this was excessive, especially in a SATs year.
‘To be fair, they know she is a class clown. Everyone knows her as the fun girl.
Tonisha is dyslexic and has booster lessons after school, which she is missing out on due to the suspension.
Tonisha said: ‘I’m just a bit of a joker. I was shocked. I can’t understand why they excluded me. I put the mask on and I scared my friends. Then this boy came and asked if he could have a go and I said no and I put it in my bag and he snatched it off me. He then went in to tell the teachers.’
Suspended for wearing a clown mask
A letter from the school to Tonisha’s parents states:
‘I realise this exclusion may well be upsetting for you and your family, but the decision to exclude Tonisha has not been taken lightly.
‘Tonisha has been excluded because she displayed intimidating behaviour towards others. I am sure I do not need to explain the extremely serious position Tonisha now finds herself in, in relation to this school.’
Headteacher Steven Fryer yesterday refused to back down. He said: ‘Churnet View Middle School will always take action when a pupil acts in a threatening manner and seeks to scare and frighten other children.
‘Pupils had been genuinely concerned about this type of event occurring. Given the recent, heightened media coverage and police message about individuals intimidating members of the community we have to act accordingly.’
Her suspension comes as police are investigating reports of the so-called ‘killer clowns’ craze sweeping Britain’s streets. Staffordshire Police Chief Superintendent Martin Evans said: ‘While some might view the current craze of inappropriate incidents involving clowns as funny, unfortunately some people are using it as an opportunity to threaten and intimidate others, including children.
‘This is not Staffordshire Police wanting to stop people having fun but rather us wanting to protect our communities from those who have sought to use this craze as an opportunity to threaten and intimidate people.’