A father has spoken out against a school after his eight-year-old son was ordered to wear a fluorescent yellow jacket as a dunce-style punishment for misbehaving in class.
Abdullah Al-Ameen was ordered to wear the high visibility jacket for three weeks after he got told off for throwing leaves at other pupils who had been bullying him.
Furious dad Dr Sanaa Al-Ameen, 59, has slammed staff at Forest Fields Primary School in Nottingham – accusing them of making his son wear the equivalent of “a dunce’s cap”.
Sanaa, a retired lecturer at Nottingham University, said: “It’s like making him wear a dunce’s cap. It’s unacceptable and demeaning for my son.
“There have been times when he doesn’t want to go to school and has been pretending to be ill and it’s because of the jacket.
“I am shocked – this is not the way to treat an eight-year-old and I am sure it is more disruptive to have him wear this jacket.”
He said Abdullah was made to wear the jacket after he stuffed leaves down the shirts of children who had bullied him.
Humiliated Abdullah, who is the youngest of five children, said: “I don’t like going to school because I have to wear the jacket.
“It makes me feel nervous when I wear it because I know other people are looking at me.”
After his son came home in floods of tears after being tormented about wearing the jacket, Dr Al-Ameen demanded the school, which caters for 470 pupils aged 3-11, scrap the punishment policy.
But headteacher Sue Hoyland, defended the move – claiming it shames pupils into behaving.
She said: “We have been trialling the scheme of jackets and we have seen improvements in some children’s behaviour.
“They are in no way used to shame the children or to make them look as if they are doing community service.
“When children’s behaviour falls below standards, we are keen to see this change by rewarding children when they make the right decision.
“With the jackets, the teachers know who to give praise to and reward more.”
But parents at the school are demanding the punishment jackets are axed.
Dad-of-three John Taylor, 40, whose eight-year-old son attends the school, said: “The school should be able to control pupil behaviour with words rather than shaming them.
“This policy actually encourages pupils to bully and pick on those who are different, it’s a backward approach which should be stopped immediately.”
Misbehaving pupils are forced to wear a workmen-style yellow jacket which they must wear from 9am until the end of the school day.
Punished pupils are also banned from two of the three playgrounds in the school and must line up together for lunch under the supervision of a dinner lady or teacher.
Abdullah Al-Ameen’s mum Teresa, 50, said: “It is draconian to say the least and sounds more like a punishment dished out in prison than a school.
“If you pass the school at lunch time you can see the naughty pupils wearing these yellow workmen jackets so everyone knows they are in trouble.
“The policy has been around for a few years but used to be confined for the really bad pupils who would run out of school or attack the teachers.
“Recently the jackets have been given out for even minor misbehavior or mischief.
“My son is not bad, he’s mischievous and can be naughty but he doesn’t deserve to be singled out like this.
“He is bullied because he is half-Iraqi and now he feels even more picked on – it’s not right to put that pressure on a child.”