Teacher's comment causes dyslexic pupil's panic attack
A DYSLEXIC schoolgirl suffered a panic attack after a teacher laughed at her spelling mistake.
Sophie Smith, 16, was "reduced to a nervous wreck" following the incident at Sackville School, East Grinstead, on Tuesday, November 30.
The teacher involved has apologised and the school has insisted that no offence was intended.
But the sixth form pupil, who "couldn't stop crying" after the incident, says she was "made to feel stupid" by the insensitive reaction.
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Sophie told how she had gained more confidence since being at Sackville, after not receiving all the help she needed with her dyslexia in the past.
But her mother Jacky believes this incident has had a hugely detrimental impact on her daughter.
She said: "This teacher laughed in my daughter's face for spelling a word incorrectly and reduced her to a nervous wreck.
"It resulted in her having a panic attack.
"This behaviour from a school that is meant to help children and not degrade them is disgusting.
"My daughter's plight might help children in the future to receive better treatment from the education system.
"Dyslexic children already feel inadequate without being made to feel like complete and total idiots, especially in front of their classmates."
Head teacher Maggie Robson wrote to Jacky after the incident and insisted the teacher was laughing at the correction suggested by a computer spell checker and not at Sophie's spelling.
She wrote: "The teacher did not mean to offend Sophie when she laughed at and commented on the word produced by the spell checker.
"She did apologise to Sophie for having caused any offence."
When she later spoke to the Courier & Observer, Mrs Robson said the incident had been "taken out of context".
She added: "Sophie had used the spell checker on the computer and it brought down another word, correctly spelt, but which in the context of the piece of work Sophie was writing, was inappropriate.
"The teacher did laugh and explained to Sophie what the word meant.
"She was not laughing at Sophie's spelling but at the spell checker.
"When we realised how upset Sophie was, the teacher apologised for causing her any offence."