Letters extra: The plight of a child

25th July 2003 at 01:00

Having read the letter and article on refugees ( TES , 4 July) I am writing about the plight of a child in my school. The pupil is Sabrina Bamburac, a 10-year-old asylum-seeker, who, along with her family, faces immediate deportation after being refused the right of appeal - a decision that has taken five years!
Sabrina joined us five years ago, aged five. Her only formal education has been with us, and she is fully integrated into the life of our school and local community. She is a very happy, settled girl who is performing extremely well academically and is regarded by the Lawn Tennis Association as "one of the brightest prospects in British tennis." She speaks, reads and writes fluent English. Anyone meeting Sabrina for the first time would assume that she had lived in England all her life.
In contrast, her only memories from her time in Croatia are traumatic and disturbing. She has no family in Croatia and can neither read nor write Serbo-Croat.

The case has already gained wide spread support from parents, teachers and staff at our school as well as trade unions, the Lawn Tennis Association, the local MP, Nick Brown; local MEP, Mo O'Toole; and the media and public at large.

It is our view that thenbsp;authorities' appalling decision, compounded bynbsp;the cruel delay and determination to ignore the child's human rights and the right to family life, is wholly wrong, and that the deportation, and others like it, must benbsp;haltednbsp;now.

We believe that it is in Sabrina's best interests that she continues to live here in Newcastle upon Tyne. She must be allowed to continue her education amongst her friends and be given the opportunity to contribute fully to our community.

Kenny Jamieson
Class teacher, Ravenswood Primary School
Newcastle Upon Tyne

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