Headteacher who said student with autism had special needs cleared of hate crime

school classroomHove, East Sussex – Janet Felkin, headteacher of Blatchington Mill secondary school in Hove, was investigated by police over claims that she said a student with autism had ‘special needs.’

Ms Felkin, 60, was reported to the police after she used the phrase ‘special needs,’ during a governors’ meeting when she discussed a child with autism.

The student’s father, who is a parent governor at the school, saw the minutes of the meeting posted online, and complained to the local authority as he felt that his child would be offended by the phrase. He stated that his child was ‘highly intelligent’ and that the use of the phrase ‘special needs’ constituted a hate crime.

The term ‘special educational needs’ (SEN) is often used by within educational systems but in this instance, Ms Felkin and only used “special needs” in her description.

Ms Felkin has now been cleared, after a six month investigation.

The father of the child concerned had sent a letter to parents, telling that Miss Felkin had been reported to Brighton and Hove City Council’s Partnership Community Safety Team for her comments about his child.

A spokesman for Sussex Police told that it was

“quickly established that no crime had been committed and the police involvement concluded.”

TheDepartment for Education also investigated the allegation.

In a statement, made by the school’s governors, they stated that they  ‘totally dissociate’ themselves from the allegations that were made by the father of the child.

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Source: Christian Gysin for the Mail Online: Headteacher is accused of hate crime after saying autistic pupil had ‘special needs’: She’s cleared after six-month police probe