The mother of a 15-year-old girl is furious because her daughter was made to do her classwork in a storage cupboard after she turned up for school wearing the wrong shoes.
Lauren Owen, a pupil at Ysgol Rhiwabon in Wrexham, was placed in isolation after staff spotted her non-regulation footwear, and says she spent part of the day alone in a cupboard.
The girl's mum, Charlotte Owen, claims that she sent Lauren to school with a note explaining that she would be wearing the trainer boots until her mother's benefits were paid and she could afford to buy a new pair. Lauren says she was initially told to work in a dedicated 'isolation room', but when this became full she was banished to a storage cupboard, which she estimates to measure around one metre by one and a half metres, and told to work there for the remaining hour of the day.
Although the door was left open, Lauren told the BBC that it was humiliating to be isolated from her classmates in what she called a 'cramped' and 'lonely' storage room. "It wasn't my fault, so I shouldn't be getting the punishment for it," she said.
Her mother agreed, telling reporters: "Lauren's a good student. She's in all the top sets. She attends school all the time... and you're doing this to her for a pair of shoes? At the end of the day they're punishing children for something that's totally out of their hands."
The incident has now attracted the attention of Plaid Cymru Assembly Member Llyd Gruffyd, who has come to the family's defence, arguing that it is unfair for schools to penalise children because their parents are unable to provide them with correct uniform.
"There's an issue here around basic human rights in terms of pupils finding themselves a victim for something that's quite frankly beyond their control," he said, calling for the Welsh education authorities to clarify their guidance over how such incidents should be handled by schools.
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