A mother with dwarfism is facing the prospect of being taken to court because she struggles to get her son to school on time.
Michelle Harris, 32, blames her disability for her seven-year-old being late. But the 3ft 6in mother’s pleas have fallen on deaf ears with education bosses, who are trying to fine her for her son’s “failure to regularly attend school.”
She is due in court later this month. Harris, of Ilford, east London, claims the boy was marked absent because he was too late for registration at Nightingale Primary School in South Woodford.
“I can only go as quick as I can. I can’t walk fast, I can’t walk far. They should be asking how I cope and if they can help, not pointing the finger at me.
“I need help, but there’s no provision for people who have my condition. It’s unjust to fine someone on the basis of their limitations.” Harris was born with the degenerative joint condition, pseudoachondroplasia – an inherited disorder of bone growth.
She claims senior school figures told her to leave earlier to make it in on time. But Ms. Harris hit back and said: “I’m a dwarf, I can’t go any faster. I can’t run like other people. I already get up at 6.30am but when I wake, my hip is in agony.
It means she has a curvature of the spine, a knee misalignment and she will need a hip operation. Harris endures agonising pain and must take a bath when she wakes up to cope.
Redbridge Council raised concern about the situation and put Ms. Harris, a freelance writer, in touch with a voluntary organisation — but she declined help because it would have meant a different person escorting her son to school each day.
During the last term of 2016/17 academic year, Ms. Harris’ son attended 71 per cent of a possible 114 school days. She is due back at Barkingside Magistrates Court on February 16