An 11-year-old boy has faced ruthless torment at school for being a vegan – to the point that bullies have ordered him to eat grass.
Jack Shanahan hasn’t eaten meat for three years, just like his siblings and parents. However, it’s absolutely his choice – his dad Lee Hales said: ‘We have never forced our views on the kids. What they want to do, and what they want to be, has always been their decision.’
This week, Jack got into a row with other kids at school over his diet. But according to Lee, Archbishop Ilsley Catholic School in Acocks Green, Birmingham, are treating the young boy like he’s the problem.
Warehouse worker Lee, from Small Heath, explained that the argument broke out after Jack was teased and told to eat grass. He responded by telling his classmates they run the risk of cancer by eating meat. Afterwards he was reprimanded by a teacher.
Lee claims that the school have said the young boy could be segregated, and asked if he’d consider moving to another school.
Kids will be kids, we realise that, but they can also be cruel. But frankly, I’m shocked by the way is school is handling the situation.
Both Lee and his partner Helen Shanahan are vegans with a level three qualification in nutrition and personal training.
Due to the constant teasing at school, Jack has allegedly been pretending to be ill routinely and then feeling ‘right as rain’ when he finds out he doesn’t need to go.
It’s got so bad he is now pretending to be ill just to avoid school. This has been going on for three months. He is one of the brightest in his class, but sensitive. I have raised concerns before with the school, but most of the time when we contact them, they tend not to contact us back.
The comment he made this week was his way of defending himself. Unlike Jack, I will not concern myself over the health of the families whose children are making Jack’s school life difficult. ‘This is a very serious matter and, personally, I think the school should be ashamed.
To say that I am angry is an understatement. I am at the end of my tether. Sadly, this is what vegans face in society. You get silly comments, you get silly questions, and you get that look from people.
In a positive note, Lee noted that the school have adapted their meals in order to cater to Jack’s dietary needs.
While a spokesman for Bishop Ilsley School said they can’t comment on individual cases, they assured that ‘any allegations about bullying are taken seriously and we have robust procedures in place to deal with any issues that arise.’
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