Tracey Thornton Head Teacher Personal Statement

Teacher orders boy, 10, to remove Help for Heroes wristband worn in memory of Lee Rigby 'because it might cause offence'

  • Tracy Tew's son Charlie was put on report card at Maldon Primary School
  • Refused to take off charity rubber bracelet sold to honour injured soldiers
  • Charlie wears item in honour of Rigby and service personnel in his family
  • Mrs Tew, 38, says: 'We are really proud of Charlie for sticking to his guns'
  • Essex school insists wearing any wristband is against its jewellery policy
  • H4H 'haven't heard of any health and safety incident connected to them'

By Mark Duell

Published: 09:33 GMT, 12 March 2014 | Updated: 11:08 GMT, 12 March 2014


A teacher allegedly ordered a 10-year-old boy to take off his Help for Heroes wristband because it could cause offence.

Tracy Tew was shocked when her son Charlie was put on a report card at Maldon Primary School in Essex after he refused to take off the charity rubber bracelet sold to honour injured soldiers.

Charlie wears the wristband - bought at the Colchester Military Festival - in honour of murdered solider Lee Rigby and service personnel in his family, including his great-granddad and uncle.

'Could cause offence': Tracy Tew was shocked when her son Charlie was put on a report card at Maldon Primary School in Essex after he refused to take off the charity rubber bracelet sold to honour injured soldiers

Mrs Tew, 38, a domestic service assistant at a hospital, said: ‘We are really proud of Charlie for sticking to his guns. He wanted to keep it on and he didn’t agree with the reasons why he shouldn’t.

The mother of two added: ‘When the teacher said she was worried it was going to offend people, I thought it was disgusting. Our family are up in arms because we are all military minded.

‘With what happened with Lee Rigby, Charlie really wanted to wear a wristband.’

Drummer Rigby, 25, was killed by two Islamic fanatics in Woolwich, south-east London, in May last year. Michael Adebolajo, 29, and Michael Adebowale, 22, were jailed for the murder last month.

Headteacher Tracy Thornton insisted wearing wristbands is against the school’s jewellery policy.

She said: ‘They are not allowed to wear jewellery, and that includes wristbands, for health and safety reasons because they could get caught.

'When the teacher said she was worried it was going to offend people, I thought it was disgusting. Our family are up in arms'

Tracy Tew, mother

‘I can’t comment on what one particular teacher said, but for the general perspective of the school, the children are not allowed to wear jewellery except small silver studs and watches, which have to be taken off for PE.’

Bryn Parry, co-founder and CEO of Help for Heroes, told MailOnline: ‘A school's uniform policy is a matter for the principal and governors.

‘However, over 6million wristbands are proudly being worn in support of our wounded servicemen and women, including many wristbands on the frontline in Afghanistan.

‘We have not heard of a single health and safety incident connected to them, nor have we ever had a complaint that they are offensive.

Response: Maldon Primary School headteacher Tracy Thornton insisted wearing wristbands is against the jewellery policy. She said children are 'not allowed to wear jewellery except small silver studs and watches'

‘We do also have a wonderful range of other items such as lapel badges for those who are keen to show their support for our wounded.’

Terry Sutton, Colchester president of the Royal British Legion - a separate charity to Help for Heroes - said he has never heard of anyone taking offence to wristbands backing military charities.

'It’s hard to see how the band would cause offence, except, I suppose, to the radical Muslim community'

Terry Sutton, Royal British Legion in Colchester

He said: ‘It’s hard to see how the band would cause offence, except, I suppose, to the radical Muslim community. I don’t think that will be a problem in Colchester and in its surrounding area.

‘Help for Heroes bands are something young people in particular have latched onto and it’s great, as a former serviceman, to see them showing their support.’

The school has around 400 pupils aged between four and 11. In its last Ofsted report in January 2013, it was rated as 'good' overall - an improvement from 'satisfactory' in the previous inspection.

Reasoning: Charlie wears the wristband (left) - bought at the Colchester Military Festival - in honour of murdered solider Lee Rigby (right) and service personnel in his family, including his great-granddad and uncle

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