Parents ordered to pay £23k school fees after judge throws out race claim

The Telegraph is reporting that parents who refused to pay their private school fees – claiming their three sons had been been bullied and racially abused at a vegetarian school – have had their complaints thrown out by a High Court judge…

Medical doctors Paul Schymanski and Rose Rao took legal action against £30,000-a-year St Christopher School, in Letchworth, Hertfordshire, claiming the lives of their sons, Josef, Johann and Frank, had been made a misery.

Amongst a catalogue of serious complaints, they said a teacher had humiliated Josef by calling him an “idiot” in front of other children and that Johann was not given proper care after he was hit by a cricket ball.

Staff at the indiosyncratic school – where eating meat is banned, there is no school uniform and pupils address teachers by their first names – had failed to protect their sons from racist bullying by other children and Frank had been wrongly diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, they said.

However, Mr Justice Holroyde said the couple had lost all sense of objectivity. There was “simply no evidence” that any of their mixed-race boys had been bullied or victimised, nor that any member of the school’s staff was “motivated by racist views”.

Ordering the couple to cough up more than £23,000 in unpaid school fees, plus interest, the judge described their evidence as “unsatisfactory and unreliable” and their accusations against the school “unfounded”.

The judge accepted that the couple were “devoted to their sons and justifiably proud of them”. They had believed throughout that they were acting in the best interests of Josef, 15, Johann, 14, and Frank, 13, all of whom were now “prospering” at new schools.

But he told the court: “The parents’ loss of objectivity has in my view been a prominent feature of the trial.

“The unhappy reality of the case is that the parents have on many occasions come to the view that one or more of the boys was in some way unhappy or underperforming and have simply assumed that the cause must lie in an unspecified fault on the part of the school”.

The three boys were pupils at the school between September 2007 and April 2010. The court heard Dr Rao is of Kenyan ethnicity and her husband was born in Germany and is white.

St Christopher School – known as “St Chris” was founded in 1915 “to promote understanding amongst students of other cultures and religions” and create an environment “where all children are celebrated as individuals, regardless of their particular abilities”. 26 per cent of its pupils are non-white…

As well as having to settle the unpaid school fees, the judge’s ruling means the couple now also face significant legal costs bills following a trial which stretched over 10 days…

More at: Parents ordered to pay £23k school fees after judge throws out race claim


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