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Downham Market Academy parents seek ‘justice’ after students suspended following fight in playground

A fight at a town high school has left parents seeking “justice” after their children were suspended while others involved were not.

The encounter at Downham Market Academy on December 7 is believed to have involved two groups of students who became embroiled in a brawl in the playground.

Police were alerted at the time, and a subsequent investigation by the school resulted in three youngsters being suspended the following day.

The fight occurred in the Downham Market Academy playground on December 7
The fight occurred in the Downham Market Academy playground on December 7

Their parents and guardians have now raised concerns that their children have been treated unfairly, being left to study at home for upcoming exams while others involved in the incident remain in school.

They have all cited the word “justice”, admitting their children are not innocent but voicing confusion regarding what they feel is a discrepancy between the punishments.

A spokesperson for Downham Market Academy told the Lynn News: “We were extremely disappointed by the behaviour of two small groups of students who were involved in an incident in the school playground.

“We do not tolerate poor discipline and aggressive behaviour on our premises and both groups are therefore facing sanctions that are proportionate to their role in the incident.

“Parents can be reassured that a full investigation took place, and that appropriate action was taken.

“The matter was brought under control within minutes, and we would like to praise the staff on duty for dealing with the situation so swiftly and preventing it from escalating further.

“Our school fosters a peaceful and inclusive environment for all pupils and anyone breaking the rules will be disciplined accordingly.”

The parents and guardians of the students who have been suspended have said they are frustrated by inconsistencies in the way the school has dealt with the matter.

One parent acknowledged that both groups involved in the fight were “at wrong”, and said: “They all equally participated, so it should be equal justice.”

All three guardians who spoke to the Lynn News have claimed that one student who has not been suspended had a belt wrapped around their fist during the fight, but did not use it.

The academy was asked about this, but could not comment.

One of the student’s family members said they have been frustrated by a lack of cohesion since December 7, saying that accounts of the incident have changed on numerous occasions.

The mother of another child who has been suspended asked: “Why was it allowed to escalate? Why wasn’t it nipped in the bud?

“How did it take a few hours to investigate? By 2pm on Friday (the day after the fight) they were out of school.

“If it was a court case, it wouldn’t just take a few hours, would it?”

The students are believed to have been told that they will have to sit their upcoming exams from home or other remote locations.

Their parents say they have yet to be told exactly how and where this will be done.

A Norfolk Police spokesperson said: “We have been made aware of an incident at the school on December 7 and an officer from our Safer Schools Team is working with Downham Academy while enquiries continue.”

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