Confused mother says her son’s classmates have started calling him “Harry2” due to teachers’ fears about data protection.
Newhey Community Primary School marked Harry Szlatoszlavek with a number so that it could be distinguished from another boy with the same first name.
Rochdale school does not use last names on children’s notebooks.
He claims to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) when books are taken out of the classroom during parents’ evenings.
But Harry’s mother Tania says she checked with the Information Commissioner’s office and was told the policy was not necessary.
The “silly” rule led to the name sticking and Tania says her classmates now call her son “Harry 2”.
“He even got a Christmas card from another boy that said, ‘To Harry2 from Jack2,'” Tania said.
“They are taking away his identity.”
The row first erupted last year when “Harry 2” was scrawled on the six-year-old’s notebooks because of his place in the register.
Mother-of-four Tania questioned the school’s decision and policy, but was told she was in place to protect the children.
She eventually received a letter from the local school authority, Rochdale Council, clarifying the situation.
The Information Governance Unit told Tania: âThe school has made the decision not to put last names on children’s workbooks, as these books are visible to others, like parents’ evenings when the books are out in class and contain personal information about the children.
âThe school made this decision to ensure compliance with the GDPR and reduce the risk of breaches in the future.
âYou also stated that your child was called Harry 2 in the classroom verbally by a teacher. While this is not directly related to GDPR, we did discuss this with the principal.
âThe principal has spoken to staff members about this as it is certainly not their policy or for that matter their practice not to use last names when talking to children at school. Children’s surnames are used when talking about and with children and at no time do they intend the children to lose their identity.
Tania believed the issue was resolved last year when a teacher placed a sticker on Harry’s book to cover the number “2”.
But when the schoolboy started Year 2 this week, he came home with a workbook scribbled with the name “Harry 2”.
âI complained to school and to the board. Nothing has changed, âsays Tania.
“I phoned the Information Commissioner to ask if it was against GDPR for a child to use their own last name and they said it wasn’t and they can’t understand why.
” It does not mean anything.
âI like school but it’s this stupidity. You feel disgusted.
“I’m not saying that all children should use their last name, but I gave permission for my son to use his.”
Tania adds: “I understand that this comes from a good place. And I love school, it is really enriching and enjoyable. But it affects my son.
“He said ‘why am I’ Harry 2 ‘and not’ Harry 1 ‘?
âThe school says it’s just because he’s lower on the register. So what if another kid called Harry comes along and he’s higher on the register than my son – will he become Harry 3? “
Tania also believes that Harry was referred to by his number by teachers in the classroom.
She said, “Harry thought that was his name because they were saying ‘Harry 2 come get your book’.
âThey said they didn’t call him that. So why do children write him Christmas cards addressed to “Harry 2”?
âWhen the GDPR came into effect, no one knew what to do. I know the school has the best of intentions, but no one has properly checked the rules.
The name Szlatoszlavek comes from Harry’s father, Louis.
âLouis inherited this name from his grandfather when he came here during the war when they had to leave Hungary,â explains Tania. (We are very proud of this name.
âHarry’s last name is part of him. I know it’s hard to say and it’s a bite to eat but that’s its name.
A spokesperson for the Information Commissioner’s office said: “Although the data protection law grants special status to children’s data, it does not prevent a child’s full name from being written down. on a school textbook. ”
MEN has contacted Newhey Community Primary School for comment.
Rochdale council said the policy is in place to protect children, but the numbering system has been removed following comments from a parent.
âWe are linking with the school for a smarter approach,â they added.