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My son, 16, was 'excluded' from school for wearing a ring – but he needs it for his anxiety

A MUM has been left furious after she said her son was "excluded" for wearing a ring which was designed to help with his anxiety.

Abby Wiseman's 16-year-old son Ethan was told by members of staff at Plymouth's Scott Medical and Healthcare College to remove the band despite the school being aware of his anxiety, according to the mum.

After Ethan refused to take off the ring, Abby said her son was "excluded" from class and she was told to expect official communication from the headteacher, which she is still waiting on.

The college has said that it is expected that "all students present themselves in-line with school policies" and that support is given to parents and students to ensure the correct uniform is worn.

Explaining why Ethan wore the ring, Abby said her son suffered with anxiety and it helped to calm him.

"He used to use a slap band on his wrist, but people would notice a bit more," she told Plymouth Live.

"So I did some research and one of my friends suggested a fidget ring, an anxiety band.

“It’s a plain band, like a wedding band and it spins. It doesn’t make any noise so when he is feeling anxious he spins it. It’s a distraction technique."

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Abby explained that this had never been a problem in the past under the previous school management.

She said: “When the previous headteacher was there, I went to him and spoke to him, gave him information on it and he was absolutely fine with it. He just wanted my son to be happy.

“He didn’t really care if that came from a ring or whatever, he was just all for his mental health and if that’s what he needed to keep him happy and in school."

However, Abby said it all changed with the new headteacher, which have affected Ethan's wellbeing.

She said her son took off the ring off when asked to by teachers at first but all of his anxiety would build back up when he returned home after school.

Abby went to the college and spoke to the deputy headteacher explaining why her son needed the special band.

She said the deputy headteacher told her he would inform the rest of the staff and that "everything would be okay" but the next day, she received a phone call telling her Ethan was being "excluded" for refusing to take off his ring.

“They just don’t care because it’s about an image and he’s wearing a ring, yet staff can wear wedding bands, earrings and make-up.”

Abby said Ethan really wants to be in school and after not hearing back from the college about why her son was "excluded", he went back into class on Friday, December 17, because he did not want to miss out on any more education.

"Ethan is in his final year, with exams coming up," she said. "He just doesn’t need this.

“They are supposed to be teaching individuality, they are supposed to be allowing them to grow into the people they want to be and instead they have created a type of boot camp where children aren’t allowed to express their mental health.

“They have taken it too far, and it’s not really about looking after the children anymore, it’s about image. School is not about that. Excluding him for wearing a ring is a bit far-fetched.

“It doesn't seem to matter what I tell the school, they just don’t care because it’s about an image and he’s wearing a ring, yet staff can wear wedding bands, earrings and make-up.”

When contacted for comment, Will Smith, CEO of the Greenshaw Learning Trust who run the College said: "Our expectation is that all students present themselves in-line with school policies and Scott College offers support to parents and students to ensure the correct uniform is worn.

"We have proven experience in transforming schools and believe the key to success is to create a supportive and inclusive learning environment.

"If any students or parents have queries regarding our policies they should contact the school."

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