A teen who fought and survived cancer was not permitted to join the prom due to lack of attendance.
16-year-old Alex Dallas, who attended Orminston Bolingbroke Academy in Runcorn, Cheshire, had been looking forward to attending the end of school dance. In fact she already prepared a dress specially made for the event but was told she couldn’t go.
She battled cancer since the age of four and had a life-threatening 12 hour operation in December. The brave girl says she’s been robbed of her prom princess dream.
“I was so upset that I couldn’t go,” said Alex. “The prom’s the thing you look forward to from when you’re 11. It makes all the stress of exams worth it.”
Her doting mum Sam Mattison, 39, had ordered her a specially customised £380 baby pink lace dress and bought her £60 diamante encrusted shoes for the big day and her grandmother Lorraine Gotting, 59, arranged months ago for her to have her hair, nails and make-up done at a cost of more than £100.
“My dress was a baby pink fitted mermaid dress with a sweetheart neckline and no straps,” said Alex.
“It was going to have white lace covering it but days after my last fitting, last month or the month before, school told me I couldn’t go to prom.
“Luckily the dressmaker said she didn’t want to let it go to waste and said she’d make it into a dress I could wear for another occasion for no extra charge.”
Following the surgery, Dallas took classes at home to stay up-to-date with her studies where she had one-on-one lessons. Her school, however, had a policy that students must attend classes during the two weeks leading up to the prom in which Dallas did not make.
A school spokesperson said: “We wanted to make sure attending the event was in the best interests of this student, and indeed her fellow students.
“Because she had not been into school for six months, we asked her to come in for one hour a day over a two-week period before the prom, so we could make an assessment and so she could interact with other students.
“Unfortunately she did not do so and so we reluctantly took the decision that it would not be right for her to attend the event.”
Alex, who admits she’s suffered from depression and anxiety after her health battle, said: “I was so upset I couldn’t go. The prom’s the thing you look forward to from when you’re 11. and she added: “It’s upset me that they say I’m mentally unstable – I’m not. People shouldn’t discriminate for something they don’t understand.”
The school’s decision has been met with intense criticism.
The teenager’s mother, Sam, accused the school of being unsupportive of her daughter: “She needed this, she’s just had her head sliced open in a massive operation.”
She said she’d have agreed to a proper psychological assessment – but claims the school never offered it – and going into class would have worsened her anxiety more than the prom.
Alex’s mum Sam said: “My daughter’s been through hell and she wanted to finish school on a high with all her friends, most of whom she’s known since nursery.
“She’s 4ft 5 and four stone, she’s not a threat. She wanted to be treated like every other child and she’s been denied her big night.
“The school have severely let her down. They say it’s a safeguarding issue and asked ‘what if she locks herself in a toilet?’
“She needed this, she’s just had her head sliced open in a massive operation. She was desperate to have everything sorted by her prom date.
“I took Alex to a dress maker because of everything she’d been through, I wanted to spoil her. I had her shoes specially made because she is only a size one.”
Instead of going to the ball at Liverpool’s Royal Liver Building, the school’s decision prevailed. Alex was at home, in tears enviously watching her friends celebrate on social media.
Sam said: “The school’s motto is every child matters – why didn’t my child matter?”
She added: “We can’t turn the clock back but I’m speaking out because I don’t want there to be another Alex. To a lot of adults it is a glorified disco but to 16 year olds it means the world.”