Last year, Lily-Grace Hooper started using a cane to help her navigate the world with ease.
The 7-year-old suffered a stroke at 4 days old, leaving her almost entirely blind.
Her mother, Kristy, told the Bristol Post the cane helped keep Lily-Grace from stumbling from place to place.
Sadly, Lily-Grace's school, Hambrook Primary School, asked the little girl to leave her cane at home as it posed a "health and safety" risk to teachers and students who may trip over it.
Kristy told the Bristol Post,
When the school told me she can no longer bring her cane into school, I just thought this must be health and safety gone mad… It's just ridiculous. If you took a walking cane away from a blind adult, you would say that was discrimination. It's the same here.
A report commissioned by the school suggested the 7-year-old invest in round-the-clock adult assistance to get around.
Kristy would prefer her daughter continue managing on her own.
The mother said,
It is a disability, but I want to celebrate it and make sure she can become independent.
Geoff Cox, head of the Health and Safety Executive public sector team, agreed Lily should be able to continue using her cane to navigate the halls at school. He said,
There is nothing in health and safety regulations that would ban a child using a walking stick in school -- or anywhere else for that matter... In cases like these people need to sit down and work out sensible and proportionate arrangements that will work in practice. I hope common sense prevails here.
Hambrook head teacher Jo Dent said the issue was open for discussion and insisted the cane was not banned from the school, with the exception of, well, the temporary ban.
The pupil has not been banned from bringing in [her] cane, we have simply asked them to not use it around school as a temporary measure, until we have the chance to meet with the parent and discuss the situation.
School officials are reportedly working toward a solution as quickly as possible.
Citations: Health and safety "gone mad": Blind Bristol girl banned from using walking cane in primary school (Bristol Post), School bans blind girl from using walking cane because it might trip others (AOL)