Colin Fernandez, Daily Mail (London), November 6, 2009
The parents of a six-year-old girl are outraged after their daughter was branded a racist for telling a black girl she had chocolate on her face.
They fear the incident could ‘haunt’ her throughout her time at school.
Sharona Gower had been eating chocolate mousse and was playing with a friend when she was chased by two 11-year-old girls.
When one of the older girls, who was black, said Sharona had chocolate on her face, the youngster replied: ‘Well, you’ve got chocolate on yours.’
The older girl wiped her face and said: ‘I’ve got nothing on my face, actually.’
The girl then complained to a teacher, who gave Sharona a telling off.
But when Michelle Gower, 34, went to collect her daughter from school, she was told the incident was ‘racist’ and that a complaint had been logged.
Now Mrs Gower and her husband Nick, 45, believe the incident at St Paul’s School, in Rusthall, near Tunbridge Wells, Kent, was not properly investigated and has left their daughter ‘distressed and confused’.
Mrs Gower said: ‘The teacher told me that the girl had complained that Sharona was racist.
‘The teacher said she had to record this and it had been logged as required by law.
‘The teacher said they have a zero-tolerance policy for racism and bullying, which my husband and I totally agree with.
‘She also said she did not know whether the other girl had chocolate on her face or not, her words were she may have done, but she did not know.’
A spokesman for the school said the incident had been blown out of proportion
Mr Gower, a dealer in antique collectibles, said: ‘It was a bit of playground banter that has been taken as a sinister racial remark.
‘This is a six-year-old who hasn’t got an idea what racism is and has been labelled as a racist.’ He added: ‘This is political correctness gone absolutely crazy.’
Mrs Gower, who lives in Rusthall, said the teacher did not explain what ‘logging’ the incident meant.
She and her husband now fear the information may be kept on the school’s database and haunt their daughter for the rest of her school career.
Mrs Gower, who also has a nine-year-old daughter, Jasmine, at the school, said she complained to the school’s head, Carolyn Cohen, who took the side of the older girls.
She added: ‘I told her Sharona is very upset and confused about this situation and didn’t fully understand why she was being reprimanded.’
Mrs Cohen last night denied that the incident had been logged on a computer database.
A spokesman for St Paul’s school said in a statement: ‘This was a small incident, which has been blown out of all proportion. Children and parents were spoken to following an inappropriate comment.
‘The matter was dealt with appropriately and the issue is closed.’