A GROUP of former pupils were left shocked and upset after being turned away from their old school ‘like naughty children’ by the head because of ‘health and safety’ issues.
The 15 ex-pupils, now aged in their 50s and 60s, of Percy Jackson Grammar School - now known as Outwood Academy Adwick - visited the campus as part of their protest campaign to save an original 1930s building which is under threat of demolition.
But their visit coincided with the A-level results day at the school on Windmill Balk Lane and the principal Anne Seneviratne ejected them from the school grounds.
Some of them had travelled from abroad and across Britain for the reunion and what might be their last ‘pilgrimage’ to their old school.
One of those present told The Star: “All these pupils are now pensioners, many suffering from ailments. They were dressed in their best clothes, taking a pride in themselves just as they had been taught as scholars at Percy Jackson.
“They wished for nothing more than to have their photograph taken outside the school with their Percy Jackson banner. What happened next saddened me.
“The principal of the school appeared and demanded to know what they were doing on school premises and who had given them permission. When they could provide no evidence that they had permission they were ordered off the premises like naughty schoolchildren.
“They were informed when they asked politely why they could not stay, that is was because of pupil safety! I find this quite extraordinary, What safety? These were nice polite people who would not harm a fly.”
Janet Kitson Roberts, a PJGS old girl from the 1960s, who travelled form her home in Thirsk, North Yorkshire, added: “We were having our pictures taken near the entrance when Ms Seneviratne came out looking sternly at us.
“She said ‘who are you and what are you doing here?’, which surprised us because we think she knows some of us from previous reunion visits. She ought to have recognised us.
“Some of the pupils there to collect their exam results were interested in us and some agreed to be in our picture. It was just unfortunate that our visit coincided with the results day.”
Old pupil Ken Cooke, who has written a book about the history of the school, was also there and added: “The staff noticed us and we were approached by the principal and the site manager, who looked quite down at the mouth - about trespassers on his patch, I suppose.
“Ms Seneviratne firmly and politely asked us to leave the premises as we had no place being there without written permission. She also seemed concerned that we might be taking photographs of pupils without their permission - which we were not.”
The Star asked Outwood Academy and Ms Seneviratne for a comment on the matter yesterday but she did not respond.