Staff and students rally to stop poorly pupil's deportation

A SOMERS Town secondary school is upping its campaign to stop a seriously ill pupil from being deported

Ben McPartland

A SOMERS Town secondary school is upping its campaign to stop a seriously ill pupil from being deported.

Wheelchair-bound Zarine Rentia, 15, who suffers from a rare genetic disease, is a pupil at South Camden Community school.

But last Wednesday the youngster was told that her bid to stay in Britain and continue studying at the school had been rejected.

The news was broken to her as she lay in bed at Great Ormond Street Hospital in Bloomsbury battling the extremely rare disease Fanconi-Bickel Syndrome (FBS).

Zarine had appealed against her deportation to India on the grounds she would be unable to receive the same medical care there.

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But the Home Office has rejected her plea because there is a lack of "sufficient compelling circumstances to justify her remaining in the UK".

Now a campaign team at the co-educational comprehensive in Charrington Street is taking up the fight on her behalf.

Geography teacher Gerry Robinson said: "Zarine's quality of life has improved tremendously since she has been here.

"She is doing well at school and is predicted good grades for her GCSEs.

"She has also received treatment for her medical condition that she wouldn't have in India. If she had been ill in India, we just don't know whether she would have survived.

"Zarine is an extremely popular student in the school and has lots of friends.

"She is on the school council and is involved in all sorts of extra curricular activities.

"Everybody here is very worried about the Home Office's decision.

"There's no debate about the detrimental effect it will have on her if she has to return but it will also be a big blow to the school.

"The school is 100 per cent behind her and we will fight to keep her here."

Zarine is normally well enough to attend school but last week her condition deteriorated.

She was admitted to hospital after she began vomiting blood.

Treating the genetic disease, which affects the body's growth, has been difficult for doctors because there are only 112 other cases of FBS which have ever been reported.

The school plans to raise £2,000 to pay for an international social services report which could help Zarine's case by highlighting the poor conditions in India. Apart from not being able to receive treatment for her medical condition, the comprehensive believes there are an inadequate number of schools on the subcontinent which could offer her disabled access.

The school has launched a petition at under the title Zarine Rentia. And pupils are planning a demonstration outside the school gates on Wednesday.