Head fails to ban intruders from school

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The Independent Online
Laws protecting schools from intruders were condemned as inadequate by an angry headteacher yesterday after he failed to get an interim injunction to ban a group of teenagers from his school.

John Gribble, headteacher of Bretton Woods Community School, in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, was told by a county court judge that any injunction which he granted would not be enforceable.

"The court's decision illustrates the inadequacy of current legislative arrangements for the protection of schools from intrusion," said Mr Gribble, two of whose pupils have been threatened or attacked in the past three weeks.

He said that he remained "determined to deal with those mischief-makers who seek to disrupt our school" and that he would be demanding a tightening up of the law to deal with the problem.

The controversy at Bretton Woods comes as the murder of the headteacher Philip Lawrence in London last Friday has heightened concerns about school security.

Mr Gribble took court action because he felt he was powerless to act against a group of teenagers who have been causing trouble at the school. Three weeks ago a pupil was threatened by some youths inside the school. That incident was not sufficiently serious to warrant police action and officers had advised that the school take a civil action. Mr Gribble said: "In the case of certain named individuals, they said that if we could get a court order preventing them from entering the grounds, they could be arrested if they did so."

But on Monday, as the school prepared for yesterday's hearing at Peterborough County Court, two youths burst into a classroom and attacked a 14-year- old pupil. Two youths, aged 15 and 16, have been charged, one with assault and the other with criminal damage.

Yesterday the school sought an injunction banning three named teenagers, including the two charged after Monday's incident, from the school but Judge Angus Macarthur ruled that any injunction he granted would not be enforceable.

He decided that the three, all former pupils at the school, could not be jailed because they were too young and could not be fined because they had no independent income. He said: "These injunctions would be toothless and should not be granted. I do not think it is appropriate for this court to make an order where there is a likelihood of a breach and in the case of a breach this court would have no powers to act."

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