Attack was personal one

I WAS very disappointed to read a letter from Labour Party activist Leyton Rahman (News Post Leader, September 27) naming me, my son and his mother and our marital status, the latter issue which has got nothing to do with him.

Clearly the fact that he knows nothing of the story about St Benet Biscop and home school transport has not stopped him from putting pen to paper and demonstrating his lack of knowledge and comprehension to thousands of readers of the News Post Leader.

Perhaps I can help him with some facts.

1. The issue was raised at the south east area committee of Northumberland County Council by residents of Bedlington in July then September, complaining of increased buses at St Benets and asking why, after a July report at the same committee, more buses were on site. When I explained about why extra buses were being used, council members were rightly concerned.

2. Mr Rahman was not at the meeting but a reporter from the News Post Leader was. They clearly heard me state ‘my son’, and if Mr Rahman had checked his facts he would see that I am a parent governor. All my quotes used in the newspaper were taken from the September meeting.

3. Mr Rahman clearly doesn’t understand that we ‘non Catholics’ have always paid to get our kids to school – and don’t have any issue with that fact. The issue is children being separated from their friends and forced to get alternative transport to school based on religion. A system of shared buses with fare paying and non-paying students has worked brilliantly for years but was ended by the council to save money. He has tried to suggest it’s an issue of ‘free versus not free’, which again shows his total ignorance of the issue.

4. He clearly thinks it is sensible to increase the carbon footprint and emissions and pollution by increasing the number of buses into the school – with students who previously shared and paid to use the school buses with their friends being forced to wait for another bus when they could be on the same bus together.

To spell it out in the simplest terms – students who go to the same school, wear the same uniform, attend the same lessons and have the same friends are forced to use different transport on the basis of their religion.

Finally, and the issue I take personal offence at, is the assertion that I have some sort of vested financial interest in the matter.

As parents are not calling for ‘free transport’ but for the return of the original shared paid transport system, this shows his inability to comprehend a very simple story.

His allegation is serious. It is wrong and I am sure most people dislike the form of personal attack and gutter politics to which he has descended.

Sadly it is people like this who give decent and hard-working councillors from all parties a bad name.


Vice-chairman of Governors and parent