A mother was astounded to be charged 20p by a primary school to replace a pencil they say her 10-year-old son broke.
Louise Owen was shocked when her son, Lennie-Lee, handed her the letter from Lawn Primary School in Northfleet, Kent, saying they would have to pay to replace the damaged equipment.
The mother-of-four, 32, said: “When he first came in I said ‘What have you done now, Lennie?’ But he didn’t have a clue and didn’t even mention the pencil.
“The first thing he said to me was that he was kicking a football in the playground and the ball went over the fence, so he’d automatically thought this letter was about losing the ball.
“I couldn’t believe what the letter said – I thought it was ridiculous.”
The letter, from class teacher Douglas Wilson, read: “Unfortunately, your child broke a school pencil on November 2, 2022. This is school equipment which now needs to be replaced.
“Would you kindly pay the value of £0.20 to the school as soon as possible?”
Lennie, who is in Year Six, has additional needs, ADHD and autism, which means the school gets extra funding specifically for him.
Ms Owen says she has no intention of paying the 20 pence. She said: “I know it sounds bad but I did think about it and it comes down to the principle of it.
“It would have cost them more to write the letter and I just can’t get my head around it.
“It isn’t even about the 20p, it’s the fact they’ve given my son a letter to bring home saying they want it as soon as possible.”
She believes it would be more productive if the school gave him a ten-minute detention, as it would have better helped him understand and learn what he did wrong.
When she phoned the school the next day, Ms Owen was told that multiple children had been given the same letter.
Since phoning, Ms Owen has been waiting for the school to get in contact with her.
She said: “I’ve not heard anything back from the school yet. I have phoned them, and I am still waiting for someone to call me back.
“It’s been nearly a week since I phoned them.”
She added: “I don’t agree with what he did and I’ve sat him down and told him not to break things that don’t belong to him, but the amount of pencils that probably get broken on a daily basis by kids, either purposefully or accidentally, must be loads.
“The thing is, Lennie has a pencil case full of pencils and pens but he’s not allowed to take it in because of Covid.
“If he was constantly doing it then I could probably understand but it’s not a reoccurring thing.
“What bothered me most is that my son was given a letter not knowing what it was about.”
Lawn Primary School has been contacted for comment.