School staff accidentally leave foul-mouthed comments about autistic boy, 10, on mother’s phone

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer

A disgusted mother has spoken of her shock at hearing an accidental voicemail capturing school staff ranting about her autistic son.

Leighanne Bromley, 29, was shocked to overhear staff members at RNIB Three Spires Academy in Coventry making derogatory remarks about 10-year-old son Harley in a voicemail left on her phone on July 10.

The retail worker and mum-of-one, from Cheylesmore, Coventry, said she is now fearful to send Harley back to the school and wants the staff members to be suspended.

Robert Jones, headteacher of Three Spires, where half of pupils have autistic spectrum conditions, has made a public apology to Leighanne and has launched an investigation.

Leighanne Bromley was shocked to overhear school staff making derogatory remarks about her autistic son Harley (Caters)

Leighanne said: ‘I looked at my phone I saw I had a missed call from the school and they’d left the voicemail.

‘It was then I heard the message. My initial reaction was just shock. My jaw just hit the floor, I was stunned.

‘I couldn’t make it out at first, so I had to listen to it over and over again. I was just in disbelief.’

MORE: Labour MP accuses Jeremy Corbyn of being a ‘racist’ in new row over tackling anti-Semitism
MORE: ‘I misspoke’: Donald Trump backtracks siding with Russia over US intelligence agencies amid mounting anger

Leighanne phoned the school around 7.30am on July 10 after Harley had come home the day before with a note saying he’d been ill.

Shortly afterwards, she missed a call back from the school and received the message.

In the voicemail recording, a female member of staff can be heard asking when Harley would be returning to school.

The comments were heard on a voicemail left on Leighanne’s phone (Caters)

Appearing to think she had hung up the phone, she can then be heard saying ‘and make sure he’s off all f****ing week’ while another voice asks ‘what about two weeks?’

The staff members can then be heard joking about the possibility of Harley being kept off for two weeks or until the end of the year.

A final voice then makes reference to the upcoming summer holidays, retorting ‘don’t bring him back until the 27th of July when inaudible we are closed’.

Leighanne said she has never previously had problems with the school, which Harley has attended as a pupil for the last four-and-a-half years.

But she admitted recently she has felt staff were unsympathetic in dealing with Harley’s behavioural issues.

Leighanne says she is now fearful to send Harley back to the school and wants the staff members to be suspended (Caters)

Leighanne said Harley, who was diagnosed with an autistic spectrum disorder aged four-and-a-half in 2013 and has a developmental delay, is a ‘sweet’ boy.

She said: ‘The school is good itself but there have been issue with the staff. They’ve had a few behavioural issues with Harley but they just don’t seem to have sympathetic.

‘I think the school have been weak in dealing with this. Obviously if I don’t get the outcome I’m looking for I might have to move him.’

In a statement on the school’s website, headmaster Robert Jones said: ‘We offer a full and sincere apology to Leighanne Bromley.

‘This type of behaviour is not acceptable and goes against the values of our school.

Half of pupils at Harley’s school have autistic spectrum conditions (Caters)

‘We are taking this matter seriously and a full internal investigation is taking place.’

The RNIB added: ‘We have made a full and sincere apology to Leighanne Bromley.

‘This type of behaviour is not acceptable and goes against the values of our school and has no place in RNIB.

‘We are taking this matter extremely seriously and a full internal investigation is taking place and robust action will be taken where appropriate.’