AN EVER-growing number of people are adding their voices to calls for three Warwickshire county councillors to resign after remarks they made about SEND children and their parents.
At a meeting of Warwickshire County Council last month, Councillors Hammersley, Golby and Morgan made a series of comments about the increasing number of children with SEND with one suggesting some SEND children may be “just really badly behaved” and in need of “some form of strict correction”.
Another asked “why are there so many people now jumping out with these needs, where were they in the past when I was at school?”. While another asked whether the increase in cases could be linked to social media sites where “families were swapping tips on how to get their children diagnosed.”
The three councillors have since apologised after widespread outrage from SEND parents both locally and nationwide and local MP, Matt Western who called the comments “awful” and “ignorant”.
The apologies have been poorly received by SEND parents across the county with a protest planned outside Shire Hall in Warwick today (Thursday).
Ellie Costello, a co-ordinator with the SEND National Crisis, said she thought the councillors should resign “because these are the people who are meant to be representatives of the children and families in their communities.”
Deputy leader of WCC Coun Sarah Feeney, who is also a SEND parent, expressed her horror at the comments.
She said: “Your first thought upon hearing those comments is one of disbelief. To hear fellow councillors voicing such outdated and hurtful views was horrifying.
“We’re elected to represent our communities, not question the legitimacy of their needs. As a SEND parent myself, I know the system looks nothing like what they described, SEND parents fight every day to get their children the support they rightly deserve and do not need another roadblock in the form of these awful comments.”
MP Mr Western has joined the calls, stating “given these profoundly ignorant comments, I think they ought to consider their position and resign.”
Pressure has also been mounting on WCC leader Cpin Izzi Seccombe,to take action in respect of Councillors Hammersley, Morgan and Golby.
In a letter to the leader, Mr Western asked what action she was considering taking.
In her response, Coun Seccombe said: “the words voiced were not the Warwickshire County Council that I recognise” and that “they do not represent the views of our administration”.
On the response, Mr Western added: “I appreciate the response from Coun Izzi Seccombe but am seriously concerned that she has not taken immediate action to suspend these councillors from the Conservative group on the council.
“If she truly believes these dreadful comments do not represent the views of her administration, she should take the action these outrageous comments deserve and remove the Conservative whip, ie sack them.
“For three councillors of the ruling group on Warwickshire Country Council to express such disgusting views and see no action taken against them, is deeply concerning. It undermines trust in the political leadership of the local authority and raises questions about how seriously these comments are being taken.”