Boy left dying in school corridor by teacher
March 18th, 2010
Sam was found alone and gasping for breath by two fellow pupils after his class tutor, Janet Ford, sent him to sit outside the classroom.
When one of the children told Miss Ford, 46, what she had seen, the teacher told the child to "go away" because she was "in a meeting", adding: "I know Sam's there. He will have to wait."
The boy was not taken to hospital until his mother Karen arrived at the end of the day, having been told her son was ill. He died shortly afterwards.
His doctor later said he could have been saved if he had been taken to hospital immediately.
At an inquest last night, a jury found that Sam "died of natural causes, significantly contributed to by neglect, both individually and on a systemic level".
Speaking outside the court today, the family's lawyer Jonathan Betts condemned the "complete absence of common sense" that led to Sam's death.
"The fact that no one called an ambulance is astounding and deeply troubling ... When you send your child to school you believe they will be looked after and cared for," he said.
Mrs Linton said was angry with Offerton High School in Stockport, Greater Manchester over the death, which occurred in December 2007.
"Samuel was a wonderful son and his loss has been devastating. The inquest highlighted what happened at school that day and the thought that his death may have been prevented is too much to bear," she added.
Miss Ford denied the pupils' allegations and refuted claims she left Sam alone. But she admitted being "vague" about the policy on asthma attacks and added: "I think I was in after school mode. In hindsight I would have done things differently."
The coroner, John Pollard, said Miss Ford was "unconvincing" in response to his questions.
The hearing highlighted a lack of training at the school, particularly among teaching staff, of the nature of asthma and what staff are required to do to protect pupils in their care who are having an asthma attack.
The jury agreed that there had been a failure on the part of Offerton School to put in place an adequate asthma policy which "caused or significantly contributed to" Sam's death.
The foreman said: "Samuel Linton died of an acute severe asthma attack which could have been prevented if prompt emergency treatment had been sought."
A spokesman for Stockport Council said last night no disciplinary measures had so far been taken against any school staff, but added: "The school and the local authority will continue to take steps to address issues identified from Samuel's death.
"We are now considering the inquest verdict and the recommendations of the coroner as a matter of urgency, and will take all necessary actions identified and needed."