A mother and father who refused to pay their sons' private school fees – claiming that staff had failed to protect the three boys from bullying and racial abuse – have been ordered to pay up after their complaints were comprehensively dismissed by a judge.
The parents claimed that the lives of their sons at the £30,000-a-year school had been a misery. Amongst a catalogue of serious complaints, they said that a teacher had humiliated one of the boys by calling him an 'idiot' in front of other children and another was not given proper care after he was hit by a cricket ball.
Describing the school as a 'harmful environment', they argued that there had been a general lack of communication between staff and parents, that one of their sons in particular had suffered racist bullying and that the boys' welfare, happiness, self-confidence and self-esteem had been gravely undermined.
However, in ordering the parents to stump up more than £23,000 in unpaid fees, plus interest, the judge said that they had lost all sense of objectivity. There was 'simply no evidence' that their mixed-race sons had been bullied or victimised or that any member of the school's staff was 'motivated by racist views'.
Despite acknowledging that the couple were 'devoted to their sons and justifiably proud of them', and that they had believed throughout that they were acting in the boys' best interests, the judge concluded that they 'had no clear and coherent case to put forward, still less the evidence to support that case'. The parents were also ordered to pay the six-figure legal costs of the case.