Leighanne Bromley is the mother of a 10-year-old boy named Harley, who has autism and attends a special school in Coventry called RNIB Three Spires Academy. The school is designed specifically to be able to accommodate people like Harley who need a little extra help and understanding. And until recently, Bromley believed the school was doing a great job of caring for and educating her son. He’s been going there for four and a half years.
On the day Bromley kept Harley home from school because of a cold, however, things took a turn for the worse. The school made a routine call in response to Harley’s absence to check up on him, and the staff member left a voicemail when Bromley didn’t pick up. The woman didn’t hang up the phone correctly though, after which point the voicemail recording picked up a conversation between her and another staff member. The pair joked about wishing Harley wouldn’t come back to school until after it was out of session.
Parts of the message are difficult to make out, but this is what Bromley believes was said:
Tracey: “Hi, Leighanne, it’s Tracey from school. I was just ringing to see how Harley is. Alright, might speak to you later. Bye.”
(Line still connected…)
Tracey: “And make sure he’s off all f***ing week.”
Male voice (in the background): “What about 2 weeks?”
Male voice: “Well don’t tell her that. Oh yeah, hello, Tracey, did try to ring you, she was just making sure Harley is off all week. And the second question is could you keep him off next week as well?”
Tracey: “yes please until the end of the year”.
Male voice: “Tell you what; don’t bring him back until the 27th July…when is that? Why is that? Well, that’s when we would have broken up.”
“My jaw just hit the floor,” says Bromley. “I was gobsmacked and horrified someone who is entrusted with my son’s care had that attitude towards him.”
Furious, Bromley shared a video of the voicemail on Facebook, posting, “I can’t believe what I heard in this voicemail left by my son’s school this morning when she didn’t realise the line was still connected…disgraceful attitudes and behaviour by the staff…I’m beyond angry.”
Since the post was made just a few days ago, thousands of people have viewed, reacted to, and shared the video. And now Bromley has demanded that the school do something about the staff who made what she’s calling “abusive” remarks about her son.
The school apologized to Bromley and her son, assuring her that this behavior is not in keeping with the school’s rules and that they would launch a thorough internal investigation. A verbal warning was issued to the male educator and a written warning to the female who made the call.
“This type of behaviour is not acceptable and goes against the values of our school and has no place in RNIB,” says a spokesperson of the school. “We are taking this matter extremely seriously and a full internal investigation is taking place and robust action will be taken where appropriate.”
For now, Bromley has requested that Harley be moved to a different class while the investigation is taking place. She is afraid to send him back to school and is considering moving him to a different school altogether if the staff members in question are not suspended from their positions.
Check out the video below to hear the whole voicemail straight from Bromley’s phone. Then tell us in the comments what you think should be done about the educators who made these remarks about 10-year-old Harley.
Elizabeth Nelson is a wordsmith, an alumna of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, a four-leaf-clover finder, and a grammar connoisseur. She has lived in west Michigan since age four but loves to travel to new (and old) places. In her free time, she. . . wait, what’s free time?