A girl with autism said she was brought into a crowd of students by a teacher and told to remove a sentimental bracelet in a heated school uniform row.

Year 11 student Hayley Bouwer-Oliver wears a bracelet given to her by her father just before he died. She also wears an anxiety ring to stop her scratching her skin until it bleeds.

Her mum, Shereen Bouwer, said Peacehaven Community School allowed Hayley to wear the bracelet and ring last year but things changed “out of the blue” on Monday.

Hayley's father Terry Oliver died aged 45 after suffering bacterial meningitis in 2019.

“Hayley is met by a teacher when she arrives at school and is taught in a specialist classroom due to her fear of large groups,” said Shereen.

“But on Monday, she was taken to the school hall where all other students were having their uniform inspected.”

Hayley was told to remove her bracelet and to remove her ring, though the headteacher said she could wear it underneath her school shirt on a necklace from the following day.

The Argus: Hayley's ring and braceletHayley's ring and bracelet (Image: Andrew Gardner/The Argus)

“How is she supposed to wear the ring under her shirt and tie? It doesn’t make sense,” said Shereen.

Hayley’s sister Erin was also told to remove her own bracelet and did so “to avoid confrontation”.

Shereen alleges that a teacher then told Erin in front of Hayley: “Well done for making the correct decision.”

Shereen says that this was an effort to play the sisters off one another and to make Hayley feel bad.

Hayley was then threatened with isolation with a large group of students who had failed to arrive in the correct uniform.

She responded by locking herself in a toilet cubicle, a past coping mechanism which she had overcome but which the situation forced her to revisit.

The Argus: Shereen and HayleyShereen and Hayley (Image: Andrew Gardner/The Argus)

“It made me feel bad, like I had done something wrong,” said Hayley.

“I was scared and anxious. I trusted my teacher a lot but they took me into a situation that I was not comfortable with.”

Notes held by the school say that Hayley finds communicating with adults incredibly difficult unless it is a trusted adult, she does not like to be around large numbers of people and her anxiety causes significant barriers in attending school.

Meanwhile the school’s own policy says: “Building self-esteem occurs inside and outside the classroom. Every student at PCS is valued. Our community celebrates individual style and skills. We will strive to ensure that our differences do not become barrier to participation.

“We recognise that we cannot achieve true equality of opportunity and outcome for all by treating everyone the same.

“We have due regard to ensure that persons with a protected characteristic are not negatively impacted as a result of our decision or policy making.”

Shereen has stopped her children from going to school after the incident, to protect their mental health.

This latest incident follows claims that a teacher told 100 girls to change or go home in a row over the length of their skirts.

“I know how hard my children try just to go in to school, so for this to have happened is very frustrating,” she said.

“They make us parents feel like we are being unreasonable, like we want to break the rules and that we are using our children’s issues as an excuse.”

Peacehaven Community School did not respond to a request for comment.