Boy forced to eat grass by school bullies for being vegan

‘Pupils ‘shoved a tuna melt’ in the boys face and they told him to ‘eat grass’ because of his meat-free stance.

Parents of 11-year-old Jack Shanahan, from Birmingham say that he is being tormented for his dietary beliefs.

They have accused Archbishop Ilsley Catholic School, in Acocks Green, of treating their son as the problem despite the abuse he faces.

Father Lee Hales said that during a meeting with staff members it was suggested Jack should be segregated – and his parents might consider moving him to a new school.

He and partner Helen Shanahan are both vegans and have a Level 3 qualification in nutrition and personal training.

Like Jack, their 17-year-old daughter Lauran and eldest son, also called Jack, 15, are vegans by their own choice, the parents stressed.

‘We have never forced our views on the kids,’ said Lee. ‘What they want to do, and what they want to be, has always been their decision.’

Things came to a head this week following a row between Jack, who has been a vegan for three years, and other children at school.

Warehouse worker Lee claims his son snapped after being teased and told to eat grass.

The youngster responded by warning those behind the ribbing that they run the risk of cancer from eating meat – and claims he was reprimanded by a teacher for the comment.

The 45-year-old dad said: ‘More and more, Jack has been saying he feels unwell, then right as rain when he knows he’s not going to school.

‘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 fairness, the school has adapted its school meals menu to conform to Jack’s dietary requirements, the father added.

A spokesman for Bishop Ilsley School said: ‘Any allegations about bullying are taken seriously and we have robust procedures in place to deal with any issues that arise. We will not, and cannot, comment on individual cases.’

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