By James Somper
A school has apologised to a disgusted mum after an accidental voicemail captured staff’s foul-mouthed rant about her autistic son.
Leighanne Bromley, 29, was shocked to overhear staff members at RNIB Three Spires Academy in Coventry making derogatory remarks about 10-year-old son Harley in a voicemail left on her phone on July 10.
The retail worker and mum-of-one, from Cheylesmore, Coventry, said she is now fearful to send Harley back to the school and wants the staff members to be suspended.
Robert Jones, headteacher of Three Spires, where half of pupils have autistic spectrum conditions, has made a public apology to Leighanne today [TUES] and the school has launched an investigation.
Leighanne said: “I looked at my phone I saw I had a missed call from the school and they’d left the voicemail.
“It was then I heard the message.
“My initial reaction was just shock. My jaw just hit the floor, I was stunned.
“I couldn’t make it out at first, so I had to listen to it over and over again.
“I was just in disbelief.”
Leighanne phoned the school around 7.30am on July 10 to let them know her son was off with a cold after Harley had come home the day before [July 9] with a note saying he’d been ill.
Shortly afterwards, she missed a call back from the school and received the message.
In the voicemail recording, a female member of staff can be heard asking when Harley would be returning to school.
Appearing to think she had hung up the phone, she can then be heard saying ‘and make sure he’s off all f***king week’ while another voice asks ‘what about two weeks?’
The staff members can then be heard joking about the possibility of Harley being kept off for two weeks or until the end of the year.
A final voice then makes reference to the upcoming summer holidays, retorting ‘don’t bring him back until the 27th of July when *inaudible* we are closed’.
Leighanne said she has never previously had problems with the school, which Harley has attended as a pupil for the last four and a half years.
But she admitted recently she has felt staff were unsympathetic in dealing with Harley’s behavioural issues.
Leighanne said Harley, who was diagnosed with an autistic spectrum disorder aged four-and-a-half in 2013 and has a developmental delay, is a “sweet” boy.
She said: “When he first attended my impression was that it was a really good school and that he was progressing really well.
“The school is good itself but there have been issue with the staff. They’ve had a few behavioural issues with Harley but they just don’t seem to have sympathetic.
“I think the school have been weak in dealing with this. Obviously if I don’t get the outcome I’m looking for I might have to move him.
“I have asked the school to move Harley into a different class temporarily, while the investigation is taking place.
“They were understanding and offered me an apology, but just weren’t interested in moving him.
“They said they were going to give the male member of staff a verbal warning and give a written warning to the female member of staff.
“To me, that just isn’t good enough.
“I’m quite anxious and worried about him attending the school, it just makes me uncomfortable.
“He’s a really lovely boy. A lot of the issues he’s had at school I haven’t had at home. He’s just a sweet, funny little boy with a sweet personality.”
In a statement on the school’s website, headmaster Robert Jones said: We offer a full and sincere apology to Leighanne Bromley.
“This type of behaviour is not acceptable and goes against the values of our school.
“We are taking this matter seriously and a full internal investigation is taking place.”
A spokesperson for the RNIB, which sponsors the academy, said: “We have made a full and sincere apology to Leighanne Bromley.
“This type of behaviour is not acceptable and goes against the values of our school and has no place in RNIB.
“We are taking this matter extremely seriously and a full internal investigation is taking place and robust action will be taken where appropriate.”
TRANSCRIPT: THE VOICEMAIL IN FULL
Hi Leighanne it’s [NAME] from school, I was just ringing to see how Harley is
Alright, well I’ll speak to you later, bye.….
And make sure he’s off all f***king week.
What about two weeks?
Well don’t tell her that.
Oh yeah [NAME], [NAME] did phone you, she just wanted to make sure that Harley is off all week, and the second question is could you keep him off next week as well.
Yes please, till the end of the year.
Don’t bring him back until the 27th of July when *inaudible* we are closed.