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Magnet boy Shane Peters turned away from St Nicholas School

Shane Peters, who had a magnet fitted for epilepsy
Shane Peters, who had a magnet fitted for epilepsy

A teenager who has to carry a magnet to stop him fitting was turned away from a Canterbury school after being told he was a health and safety risk.

Shane Peters, 17, was told he was a danger to other people as the magnet could set off pacemakers in pupils and staff.

Shane underwent a Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS) operation at the beginning of February to help control his fits.

The epilepsy treatment involved a small generator being implanted in the skin below the left collar bone.

When taking her son back to school, full-time mum Michelle Bingham, 42, filled in a medical form and also explained to staff what VNS is and how and when to use the magnet.

But on Friday morning, after already being back at school for two days, Mrs Bingham was asked to take Shane home.

The mother-of-seven, who lives with husband Adrian and five of her children, said: "The school claimed there were issues with health and safety, because it was dangerous for the magnet Shane has to carry with him to be within a foot of people with pacemakers.

"Apparently one person with a sensitive pacemaker had already been affected.

"I rang King's College hospital, where he had the operation, and spoke to the epilepsy nurse, who said that unless the magnet is within an inch of the pacemaker it will not affect it.

"If the magnet was as 'dangerous' as they said is was then surely he wouldn't be able to go out in public.

"Shane has been through so much and was so confused and upset. He thought he was being punished and didn't understand why he couldn't go to school like his brothers and sisters.

"The school had known for a long time what the operation involved and what it would mean when he returned. There was plenty of time for them to get the medical support and information they needed to manage the situation."

The story does have a happy ending, however, as Shane was expected to return to lessons at the St Nicholas unit on the New Dover Road educational campus, on Wednesday after the school told Mrs Bingham that the magnet had been deemed safe.

But Mrs Bingham added: "I am over the moon Shane can go back to school, but I'm angry he was put in this situation.

"The operation was supposed to improve Shane's life - not put it on hold."

Head teacher of St Nicholas school, Daniel Lewis, said: "We regret that Shane was unable to attend school and this is not what we wanted to happen.

"When we realised what would need to be done to manage his condition if he became unwell, we had a duty of care to both Shane and other members of the school.

"We had no choice but to have him kept at home until we had the medical advice needed to manage the risk."

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