An 11-year-old girl was sent home from a weeklong school trip because she ate a chocolate bar. Her school’s headmistress found out about the confectionery crime only by snooping on a private letter that Holli McCann had written to her mother.
Holli’s mother Kerri McCann had to borrow money in order to make the 160-mile trip to the Isle of White to pick up her daughter. McCann, who is unemployed and must care for her autistic son, said she has no idea why the school feels chocolate is unsafe.
Teachers ransacked Holli’s room and went through her things. They even removed the lining of her suitcase.
"Holli said she was really upset because they emptied her toiletry bag into the sink and pulled out the lining in her suitcase,” McCann said. "It was carried out in such a manner you would have thought they were running an international drug smuggling operation from their hotel room.”
When the chocolate was discovered, Yvonne Graves, the headmistress at Bromet Primary School in Watford, Herts, contacted McCann and told her to pick up her daughter immediately. McCann asked Graves to reconsider, but she refused.
McCann told The Telegraph that her daughter was excited about the July 1 trip. She was going to share a room with her best friends.
"They had been planning the feast weeks before the trip and Holli was in charge of bringing the chocolate,” she said. "It wasn't even at midnight. They ate the chocolate at about 9:30 p.m., and it only went on for about 15 minutes. It's not like they were having a party or making noise. The teachers had no idea about it until they read Holli's letter to me.”
McCann could not understand why her daughter’s private letter was being read by teachers in the first place.
"I am furious that they read her letter, it is like being in prison," she said. "It's not like she is five — she is 11 and deserves privacy in what she writes to her mom.”
McCann made a formal complaint with the Bromet School’s governors.
"I don't see how eating chocolate makes the holiday unsafe," she said. "They were not being naughty — they were just having fun."
Hertfordshire County Council said that chocolate is against the school’s behavior charter, which designates how children are to behave on the trip.
"It was made clear that breaking any of the rules within the charter would result in parents being asked to take their child home, as was the case with this pupil,” the council said.