Boy, 13, ‘terrified’ to leave the house after substance attack in school

A teenager is ‘terrified’ to return to school after he was allegedly subject to a unknown substance attack just days after returning from a two year break.

Rj Buckley, 13, has spent the last two years isolating at home during the coronavirus pandemic due to his younger sister being considered an extremely high risk.

His dad Roy said RJ “couldn’t wait” to go back to Ellesmere Port Catholic High School on Monday as he “loves school” and has spent the last two school years “locked away”.

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Rj said everything was ‘fine’ as he made his was to his first lesson on Tuesday until he was approached by another student in the same year.

The student began shouting Rj’s name in the corridor and repeatedly asked him “do you want some of this?” while waving a spray bottle in the 13-year-old’s face.

Rj ignored the student but minutes later the unknown substance of the bottle was sprayed towards Rj’s face, causing a burning sensation on his skin.

Marks left on Rj Buckley's body after a student sprayed him with an unknown substance
Marks left on Rj Buckley’s body after a student sprayed him with an unknown substance

In a statement provided to the school, Rj said the attack was for ‘no reason’.

He wrote: “I was attending drama and whilst walking to the drama class [the other student] was behind me and bullying me verbally by shouting my name repeatedly asking me if I wanted some of this.

“He had a bottle of something in his hand and was indicating he was going to spray me with it.

“I ignored him and continued to walk on but once I was forced to line up outside class, he approached me in the line and sprayed me with the bottle for no reason.

“He aimed for my face, but I moved away as he did it and it got my neck. I have no idea what was in the bottle, but the liquid stung the skin on my neck and I now have a red rash where the spray made contact and it still irritates me.”

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Rj hoped he would escape any further antics for the day but found the student waiting outside the room for him.

The student raised a fist into his face and threatened him before he was stopped after a nearby teacher witnessed the scene.

The situation was diffused once again but by lunchtime the fellow student is said to have returned and this time he arrived with ‘about 10 of his friends’ to ‘bully’ Rj.

The student was reportedly put into isolation for the rest of the day and Rj’s mum and dad were both informed about the lunchtime fight

Rj’s mum, Heather Neil, attended the school at the end of the day to ensure he got home safe, but by the time she arrived another attack was already underway.

Heather said she witnessed the student “swinging his fists around in a threatening manner while Rj picked up his bike” before continuing to chase Rj.

Marks left on Rj Buckley's body after a student sprayed him with an unknown substance
Marks left on Rj Buckley’s body after a student sprayed him with an unknown substance

Returning home, Rj showed his parents the marks left on his skin by the substance that had touched his skin hours earlier.

The red marks caused Rj’s neck to flare up leading Roy and Heather to fear the substance was bleach or acid.

Roy said: “The school admitted it all happened and thinks a five-day holiday for the offending kid is sufficient and expects my son to come back to school when the offending kid comes back.

“My son is terrified to be in the same county as the offending kid, never mind the same school, but the school thinks the obligation to educate the offending kids is more important than the safety and mental well being of my son who was attacked.

“He isn’t going back until I get some kind of thing stopping them from being in the same premises.”

Rj’s parents complained over the school’s ‘minimalised’ and ‘light hearted’ approach before receiving a reply from the headteacher.

In an email seen by the ECHO, the headteacher responded: “If you are not content with the Headteacher’s decision(s) around exclusion, then you have the option to go to Judicial Review to challenge the decision, but you cannot insist or persuade the Headteacher to act/take action.

“If the situation is so severe the police should be involved.”

Rj Buckley, 13, was sprayed with an unknown substance by a student at Ellesmere Port Catholic High School
Rj Buckley, 13, was sprayed with an unknown substance by a student at Ellesmere Port Catholic High School

RJ has since returned back to home-schooling out of fear and Roy refuses to let his son return to the school unless further action is taken.

Roy added: “This has turned our house upside down. The poor lad has been locked up for two years. He loves school it’s all he has wanted to do and now he’s back in the house.

“The stress in the house is unbelievable but what are we supposed to do?

“He is entitled to better protection and safeguarding. We send our kids to school to be safe.

“It’s killing us.”

Headteacher of Ellesmere Port Catholic High School, Caroline Vile, said: “The safeguarding of our pupils has always been, and remains, our top priority.

“There is now an active police investigation in to incidents that occurred earlier this week and due to this it would be inappropriate for us to comment further.”

In response to the allegations, a spokesperson for Cheshire Police said: “Police are investigating a number of incidents between two pupils at a school in Capenhurst Lane, Whitby.

“Enquiries are continuing.”

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