The Mirror is reporting that an “academically gifted” teenager killed herself in her parents’ garden shed the day after being suspended from grammar school, an inquest heard.
Francesca Candita-Simpkins – who told a teacher she’d had suicidal thoughts since she was six-years-old – was just 13 when she was found hanged in April this year.
The teen, who planned to join the diplomatic service after studying at Oxford, was excluded from school for two days after stealing a craft knife from a design technology classroom.
She stole the knife with a friend so that they could become ‘blood sisters,’ Southwark Coroner’s Court was told.
It heard the prestigious Newstead Wood grammar school failed to consider how excluding Francesca would affect her – even though the year nine pupil had attempted an overdose six months before and had had a difficult relationship with her parents.
Coroner Lorna Tagliavini criticised the school for failing to take into consideration the tragic youngster’s circumstances when they punished her.
She said: “Turning to the reaction of the school in question, I do find that it’s own policy for dealing with a major behaviour incident was not followed.
“The first part of the policy was followed and then the school staff did not follow the second part of the policy.
“The fact that the taking of the knife was not a risk to other students seems to have been overlooked. That was not properly considered and not properly addressed at the time.
“It was known that Francesca was a vulnerable student. It was known that she had a red flag, that she [had] difficulties with her family, and she self-harmed.
“None of those factors were properly considered when deciding what punishment should be meted out.”
Francesca’s parents told the inquest they didn’t know she was self-harming until her overdose and they didn’t know how to support her…
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