Angela Smith: Cruelty

Angela was born in 1962 in London. Her parents came to England from Guyana and settled in Walthamstow where Angela lived with her eight brothers and sisters. At age five Angela went to a local special school. Then from the age of ten she attended two residential special schools run by the Spastics Society (now SCOPE), in Lincolnshire and Kent.

Here Angela describes the treatment from the staff in her boarding school.

  • Angela Smith
  • Angela Smith
  • Angela Smith


Some of them were very cruel and they used to mimic some of the children and be very, spiteful and there was one girl called 'Liz' and they used to call her 'Lizzie Dripping 'cos she was very slow so sometimes they were very derogatory.

They were always saying [to us] 'She can do it so why can't you?' Always 'She can do it why can't you?' Like a flippin' parrot they were, 'That one can do it, so why can't you?' Anyway this one poor girl, they wanted her to pick up the cup and drink without a straw and what used to happen was, she'd get it half-way to her mouth and then for some reason, she'd go into spasm so obviously it went all over her, whether it was hot, cold, sweet, and obviously they'd shout at her and say 'Oy! You're not tryin' hard enough!' and all that, instead of changing her, she'd have to stay in it all, anyway obviously she got scared so what did she do? Gradually she stopped drinking and what do you think happened? She contracted a kidney infection and no-one put two and two together and me, a little child, I could see it and they couldn't see it and that was, isn't that heart-breaking?

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