Dad Accuses School of Putting Daughter At Risk By Confiscating Her Phone

By Russell Butt, Laura Connor

Jim Tomlinson is incensed after his  daughter's mobile phone was taken for three weeks after recent attempted child abductions in the area.

Fury: Jim and Elizabeth Tomlinson at their home

Fury: Jim and Elizabeth Tomlinson at their home

An angry parent slammed his daughter's school for putting her safety at risk - by confiscating her mobile phone.

Jim Tomlinson has sounded off after his 13-year-old daughter Elizabeth's phone was seized for three weeks after it went off in class.

Salesian School in Chertsey, Surrey, said parents were made aware of the policy at the start of term but Mr Tomlinson said it leaves Elizabeth with no way of contacting him in an emergency.

He said: “They are putting children’s safety at risk. Without a shadow of doubt, they are.

"I agree with their policies during school times but they are over-stepping the mark."

Parents are especially jumpy following reports of attempted abductions of children in the area.

The most recent incident – around 4.40pm last Thursday – involved an attempt to lure a teenage girl into a car in Laleham Road, Shepperton.

Police said an Asian man in a black jeep told the girl she was pretty and asked if she wanted a lift.

Officers also reported a similar incident in Chertsey Road, Ashford, on Monday, September 29.

“Basically, the school wash their hands of the kids when they go through the school gates, yet they take a phone off Elizabeth that was given to her for her safety," said Mr Tomlinson.

“If she got picked up on her way home from school, the school would wash their hands of it and say it was the parents’ responsibility but I am trying to get her phone back.

Heavy-handed? 'Strict' Salesian school in Surrey

Heavy-handed? 'Strict' Salesian school in Surrey

“When it comes to her safety outside of school times, they have no right to hold on to that phone.

“They are basically treating the parents as children. They are taking my right away to protect my own child due to the fact that she can’t contact me.”

Mr Tomlinson said his daughter had swapped phones with her mum but confusion over the SIM cards had led to the phone going off in class by mistake.

He contacted the school and said he was told his daughter could stop any activities outside school time or he could just buy her a replacement phone.

“I don’t see how they can get away with it. They don’t pay the bill," he said.

“And just getting her a new phone is not solving it. She would still have a phone in class.”

Mr Tomlinson said other parents felt the same way, but were scared to come forward for fear of repercussions from the school.

A spokesman for Salesian School said: “We have long-standing, strict policies about uniform, appearance, mobile phones and all other aspects of life at Salesian.

"Parents are all made fully aware of these before they enrol their children here and again when they sign the Home-School Agreement.

“Parents choose to enrol their children here precisely because we set our standards high and follow them up rigorously and this obviously extends to the quality of education their children receive here.”