Should school have asked pupils to remove their poppies?

A STANFORD-LE-HOPE parent is angry that their daughter was asked to take their poppy off for a school photograph.

Tony Bentham’s daughter is in year 6 at St Joseph’s RC primary on Southend Road.

The class were set to have their photograph taken but before they were going to be snapped, their teacher asked them all to remove the poppies.

Mr Bentham’s daughter told him about this when she got home and the retired firefighter was incensed.

Mr Bentham said: “I am very angry. This is a massive principle for me and I know I am not alone.

He added: “My daughter wears a poppy with my consent. She wears it with an understanding of what it represents and was by my side on Sunday at the service in Stanford-le-Hope.

“I actually thought it would be nice to have a year picture with my daughter proudly displaying this symbol of remembrance.”

The school has responded and defended its actions. The acting headteacher Ms Saul said: “St Joseph’s has the utmost respect for the work of the Royal British Legion.

“Our year 6 pupils were out raising money by selling poppies. We had a dedicated service in the school on Monday morning.

“Pupils were simply asked to remove their poppies for the school photographs so that they wouldn’t appear ‘time-dated”.

Mr Bentham told YT that he has been up to the school to speak to the head and asked for an apology in the newsletter.

“They have not printed an apology or explanation. I have been disappointed by their high-handed attitude to the whole matter.

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