Kirklees College pay bullied blind woman £5,000 in private settlement

A BLIND woman who claimed she was bullied by a teacher and pupils at Kirklees College was paid £5,000 in compensation in a private settlement.

A BLIND woman who claimed she was bullied by a teacher and pupils at Kirklees College was paid £5,000 in compensation in a private settlement.

But Tmara Senior and her husband Wayne say they think it’s important that what happened to Tmara shouldn’t be “covered up” and “forgotten”.

The couple have spoken out against the way the college, which has campuses in Huddersfield and Dewsbury, dealt with the alleged bullying.

Wayne, 24, speaking on behalf of his wife Tmara from their home in Thornhill Lees, said: “The college never apologised or accepted that they were in the wrong.

“They were just worried about the reputation of the college and they wanted Tmara to keep silent about the discrimination, bullying and intimidation she suffered.

“We want to encourage other people who are victims of discrimination and bullying at the college to speak out.”

Wayne said the bullying started when students in Tmara’s class refused to associate with her – they said they were not paid to be with her at break-times and she had a paid carer to be with her instead.

Staff at the college allegedly backed up the students and Tmara was finally told she wasn’t allowed off the campus at break-times to go to town or visit the shops.

Wayne, who is also blind, said: “Tmara was shocked and upset that students saw her not as a person but as a responsibility and cried for a long time after arriving home that day.

“She tried to persuade the students that even though she’s blind, she’s no different to them and shouldn’t be treated any differently.

“But then a bigger shock was to come. Tmara had never thought that a college could ban somebody from going to the local shop just for being blind. To her this was an abuse of her human rights.”

Wayne, a former Moor End Technology College pupil, said neither he or Tmara, who is 25, had experienced discrimination at school or work before.

He said: “I was never bullied for being blind when I was at Moor End – they just treated me like everyone else.

“And people don’t have a problem helping me out – they are always offering to help me off the train.”

Tmara, who is originally from Bermuda, began legal action against the college in December 2008 and they eventually told her she was now allowed to leave the campus at break-times.

But Wayne said Tmara continued to be bullied by students who admitted their hostility towards her was because she was blind.

He said the students even started a petition saying that Tmara had paid carers to look after her and it wasn’t their job.

Their alleged bullying on Facebook also prompted a police investigation but no action was taken.

A spokesman for Kirklees College said due to a binding legal contract between themselves and Tmara they could not comment on the matter.

 
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