Epileptic teenager locked in Bethnal Green school for 13 hours without food or medicine
PUBLISHED: 06:00 19 June 2014 | UPDATED: 12:18 19 June 2014
The father of an epileptic teenager who was trapped in a school changing room for more than 13 hours has vowed to take legal action.
Syed Hossain says his 14-year-old daughter Sornnaly could have died after being deprived of food and medication when the Morpeth School building was locked overnight without being checked properly.
She spent two hours at the Royal London Hospital having tests following the ordeal, which left her feeling dizzy, and didn’t return to school for a fortnight as she was too frightened.
Syed said he and his wife Khadija were frantic after Sornnaly failed to return home to Stepney Way on May 22.
“She went to school and she didn’t come back,” he said. “At 5.30pm they locked the door without checking.
“When she didn’t come home we were searching everywhere for her. We called all our relatives but they couldn’t find her anywhere.”
After he reported her missing, the police and social services searched the Hossains’ own home – but no one checked the Bethnal Green school, despite Syed’s suggestion they did so.
Sormanly was eventually found at the school at about 6.30am the next day.
Syed, who has written to his MP and met with Mayor Lutfar Rahman to discuss his concerns, says words are not enough to make up for what happened.
“What if my daughter had died?” he said. “This isn’t some small incident – she went 14 hours without food and medicine.
“Why couldn’t they care less about my daughter? I want to take action against the school and the police because of their carelessness.”
A council spokesman said: “The parents and headteacher of Morpeth School informed the council about this unfortunate incident early on the morning of Friday, May 23.
“Both the council and school recognise that the episode will have been highly distressing for the child and her parents, as well as for school staff, support is being offered. The council has been working with the school and police to conduct a thorough investigation into how this incident happened and to ensure that all safety measures are securely in place.”
A spokeswoman for Tower Hamlets police said: “We are concerned that the family are unhappy with police actions and would welcome the opportunity to meet with them to discuss their concerns.
“Police take all reports of missing children extremely seriously and have a number of measures in place to liaise with families and to facilitate searches as appropriate.”