PARENTS are angry after Sainsbury’s Clitheroe superstore banned pupils from nearby Ribblesdale High School.
The store told the school its pupils were barred after one child was allegedly caught stealing, and there were other incidents of rowdyism.
Sainsbury’s say the ban is temporary and pupils can come back after the Easter break, but only in limited numbers.
Mum Tracey Lawton, from Low Moor, said she went into the store on the last day of term with her daughter Amber (12), who was in ordinary clothes for a non-uniform day, and a friend who was wearing a Ribblesdale uniform.
She said: “The assistants were watching them like hawks, and I overheard one assistant say ‘What are they doing in here?’ I tackled them about it, but they just said it was a management decision.
“Are Sainsbury’s saying all Ribblesdale children are thieves? I’m so enraged by this. They make massive profits from their customers and then imply your child is a thief.
“I won’t shop at Sainsburys again, and I know there are other parents who feel the same.”
Ribblesdale deputy head Mr Andrew Davidson said there had been three recent incidents. One was being dealt with by the police and the other two were anti-social behaviour.
He said: “The store phoned to say our pupils were banned, and asked us to communicate this to the children. It was the store’s decision.
“It seems our pupils have all been tarred with the same brush. I can say 99.5% of our pupils are law-abiding decent youngsters. They’re community-minded and raise a lot of money for charity.
“We’re always prepared to co-operate with Sainsbury’s, Homebase and other shops and businesses around here, but when you have 1,300 pupils coming out of the school there will be occasional incidents.
“If something anti-social happens, we send a member of staff the next day and that’s usually enough to deal with it.”
A spokesman at the Clitheroe Sainsbury’s store said there were three recent “unsavoury incidents”.
He said police were called to deal with an incident of shoplifting, a pupil was ejected for swearing at a member of staff, and a group of pupils had run round the store, knocking over a customer.
He added: “We needed to draw a line in the sand. After speaking to the police and school, we decided to impose a temporary ban for a cooling-off period.”
He said that after the holiday, Ribblesdale pupils would be admitted in groups of no more than two, and only seven groups of two would be allowed in at the same time.