Principal Mason claims to have offered mediation talks with parents and students in a letter to campaigners at the end of June. However, KEVICC Deserves Better campaigners claim the letter did not expressly offer talks. Principal Mason repeated the offer last week when meeting with parents, and told Totnes FM the offer remains on the table.
“Absolutely,” said Principal Mason. “The offer of mediation is definitely still there.”
After a series of protests and last week’s march through Totnes town centre, KEVICC Deserves Better campaigners are refusing to take part in the talks unless the school suspends any further disciplinary action against protesting pupils. They claim Principal Mason also imposed a condition that the topic of school uniform would not be included.
In a statement on the KEVICC Deserves Better Facebook page, the group said: “As most may know, it was agreed at a meeting last night to initiate mediation with the school, with the pre-condition that punishment be suspended for students involved in last week's protests, as a sign of good faith. The school has rejected that proposal, on the grounds that it would be unfair to students that had already been punished.”
Principal Mason has acted on her offer of talks by asking a representative from Devon County Council's mediation service to chair the talks, should campaigners agree to them.
One KEVICC parent Faye Cooper posted of the KEVICC Deserves Better Facebook page: “As grown ups, we are protecting our young people, that’s exactly the point of preconditions mentioned. We are keen to move into mediation once our children are safe, protected and no longer in a position of fear and intimidation.”
However, some parents have criticised the decision to add conditions to the holding of mediation talks. Damian Hempton believes the talks should go ahead.