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Classroom squash ban at Herne Bay Infants angers mum of autistic six-year-old

A mum was left stunned after her autistic son’s school banned him from drinking squash in class on the hottest day of the year.

Liz Adams, 25, says she received a call from Herne Bay Infants to say six-year-old Jamie Cockerill was not allowed the flavoured drink during lessons.

The school says pupils can only drink water in the classroom, but mum-of-two Miss Adams has branded the decision old-fashioned, saying the rules should be relaxed when temperatures soar.

Jamie with mum Liz, who was angry to be called by the school
Jamie with mum Liz, who was angry to be called by the school

She said: “It was stupid that they even rang me about it. I was in absolute shock. I thought ‘at least I sent him in with something to drink’.

“It was not like I was sending him in with Coca-Cola or a fizzy drink, it was just squash from home.

“A teacher said it would be unfair on other children in the classroom, but children with a packed lunch can have it.”

Miss Adams says Jamie, who suffers from autism and ADHD, had been left confused by the incident, as she had told him before school to drink the squash.

Jamie enjoying a glass of squash at home
Jamie enjoying a glass of squash at home

She said: “I think they should be allowed to drink whatever they want on a hot day, just as long as they do drink.

“With Jamie’s autism, he can be very fussy about what he drinks. I think the school should understand that.

“A lot of younger children don’t like water on its own.”

School head teacher Bernadette Lax says it is the policy of all Kent’s schools that no children can take squash into lessons.

School head Bernadette Lax says the policy is clear
School head Bernadette Lax says the policy is clear

She said: “It is the school rule that children can only have lunch-time things during the lunch break.

“So children can drink squash then as it is part of their meal, but in lessons we follow the policy in line with the advice given to all schools about healthy eating.

“There was one child who had been provided with juice, but we can’t have that because all the other children would want it. Everybody has got to be treated the same.

"Children have an increasing sense of justice and they know what is fair. So they would be really upset seeing one person having it and another not.

“Last week we were encouraging the children to drink, drink, drink. We provide free water for children who can fill their water bottles.

"The water bottles can be bought at the school office for 60p and refilled here for free at school. We also provide water to be available from plastic cups if they don’t have a water bottle.”

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