THE DAD of an 11-year-old boy who threatened to ‘”shank” his classmates with a pen knife has defended his son and criticised the school for “fanning the flames”.

The incident involving his son, took place at Montgomerie Primary School, in Benfleet, last Monday, March 18.

It is understood the Year Six pupil warned a number of children “do you want to get shanked?” while pulling out a pen knife in class.

Mark, who did not give his surname to protect the identity of his son, say the claims have been exaggerated and are mostly hearsay - regarding the choice of language his child was reported to have used.

The dad said: “In light of what has happened we, as a family, understand the community’s reaction.

“We in no way condone what has happened but the way that the events have been portrayed are totally untrue and wildly over-exaggerated.

“The fact is, that although wrong, my son took a bottle opener into school and it wasn’t a knife or a ‘shank’.

“There was a small blade implement which is used to remove the foil from a wine bottle but this hardly makes my son Jack the Ripper as some people’s reaction seem to suggest.

“My son had no intention of hurting anyone - he chose a bottle opener from a kitchen draw full of knives.

“We are disappointed at the lack of professionalism that the school has shown in the handling of this incident.

“Although we understand they have a duty of care, we feel that in this case it should have been dealt within a more open-minded manner and instead of an instant knee jerk reaction to permanently exclude my son.

“The school should have viewed all of the facts - my son’s impeccable previous behaviour and the fact that this is totally out of character for him based on his past.

“Regarding the school’s statement to the Echo and the letter sent out to the parents after the incident, I would’ve thought that the school would try to calm things down regarding the situation considering that there is an ongoing investigation into what has happened and more evidence is coming to light.”

When the Echo first contacted the school last week, the headteacher, Diana Mason, stated: “Incidents such as this are extremely rare and I would like to reassure the community that the school remains a safe learning environment with the safety of our pupils at the heart of all that we do.”

A spokesman for Montgomerie Primary School, further added: “The school has dealt with this incident in line with emergency safeguarding procedures and protocols to ensure the safety of all pupils and staff.”