Teacher sniffed children’s feet during lessons. A SCHOOL has suspended a teacher over claims that he tickled and sniffed children’s feet.
Police have arrested a man on suspicion of ‘assault by touching’ and four young boys have been quizzed by officers.
Parents said they were stunned when they heard that police had been called to the Blackburn primary school on Tuesday. The parents of the boys concerned were then contacted and told to come into school to discuss matters.
Parents said they were then told their children had been asked to remove their shoes and socks at school.
One parent who contacted the Lancashire Telegraph said her son told her had been made to remove his footwear and sit on a desk.
She said children then had to play ‘a game’ in which they were told to go barefoot and chose a card. Children’s feet were then either ‘tickled or sniffed by the staff member’ depending on which card they chose.
The male staff member has been suspended and an investigation has been launched by Blackburn with Darwen Council. Police said they are also investigating.
One mother said: “I didn’t know anything about this and was called into school to be told my son had been questioned by police.
“I am deeply concerned and I feel everyone should know what has been happening so it can be properly looked into. This is so confusing for children.
“My son said he was picked up and put on a table, his shoes and socks taken off. Then he had to pick a card saying tickle or sniff. How can under-tens make any sense of that?”
Another parent said: “It’s just really worrying to me. My daughter wasn’t one of the kids questioned, but I am just as concerned as those parents are. The kids think it is all a game but I think it needs looking into.”
Because of the 2011 Education Act which came into force last year we are unable to identify the staff member or the school where the incidents allegedly took place.
The authority’s education councillor Dave Harling said: “The school has responded swiftly and robustly to the concerns and will be conducting an internal investigation.
“In addition, the matter has been reported to police and is currently being investigated. I understand that the community will naturally be concerned about this matter, but I’d like to appeal to people not to speculate while we await the outcome of the investigations”.
A spokesman for Lancashire Police said: “We have been contacted by the local authority in relation to a complaint about a member of staff at the school.
“While we are in the very early stages of an investigation, we have spoken to a number of people and we are determining whether any criminal offences have been committed. A man has been arrested and has been bailed pending further enquiries.”