Devon

Students sentenced for abusing Devon head teacher

An 11-year-old boy and 15-year-old girl have been given rehabilitation orders after they were convicted of assaulting a head teacher in Devon.

The boy, from Llanelli, was accused of assaulting Alice Gabbidon and the girl, from Cannington, Somerset, was accused of racially aggravated assault.

Exeter Youth Court heard Miss Gabbidon, who is black, was headbutted and had racial abuse shouted at her.

The children, who denied the charges, cannot be named for legal reasons

The girl was given a 12-month order and 60-day curfew and the boy, who is now 12, was given a six-month order.

'Out of control'

Both teenagers attended a school in Dunkeswell for children with behavioural problems when the incident happened in November.

Beth Heaton, for the prosecution, told the court the pair were disruptive when they arrived at school that day and had been caught smoking.

She said the girl headbutted, racially abused and swore at Miss Gabbidon before going into her office and trashing it and later pulling her hair. She also armed herself with a piece of wood, although she did not use it.

The court also heard the pair soaked staff with water bombs and squirted washing up liquid into the eyes of one teacher.

Miss Heaton said: "Two young people were out of control that day.

'Monkey noises'

"They had to be restrained on a number of occasions by various members of staff. They caused damage to the property and physically assaulted one of the staff over the course of a few hours."

She said Miss Gabbidon had restrained the two teenagers without excessive force but had been suspended following the incident. The school was closed down the following month due to financial issues.

Miss Gabbidon told the court she had previously ignored name-calling and racial comments from the teenage girl, although she had suspended her for a short time after she made "monkey noises".

She added that the boy was a "follower more than a leader".

Katrina Byrne, defending, said: "These are different young people today than they were last year."

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