HUNDREDS of pupils laid flowers at Bolton St Catherine’s Academy in memory of tragic fellow student Aleysha Rothwell.
Teachers at the Breightmet school say the reaction of students to the 16-year-old’s death has been “uplifting”.
Aleysha, a year 11 pupil, was found hanged at her Breightmet home, on Thursday.
It is thought about 50 pupils from years nine, 10 and 11 refused to attend lessons at the school in Stitch-Mi-Lane, Harwood, yesterday (MON) after believing floral tributes would be binned if left at the site.
But Lee Harris, principal of the academy, has dismissed the claims.
Mr Harris said: “The reaction of the pupils to the tragic news of Aleysha’s death has been uplifting. The walk and lantern memorial of Friday night has been followed by a flower vigil at the academy yesterday (MONDAY). Other events are being planned by, and with, Aleysha’s friends. This includes a sponsored walk on Wednesday evening. Her friends would like to use the funds raised to go towards a headstone for Aleysha.
“The school was shocked to read that students had been banned from laying floral tributes. This isn’t something we would have done. We had arranged for the flowers to be in a safe place at the back of the school so everyone can go and remember Aleysha.”
Friends say the confusion arose because they claim they were told by a staff member not to leave the flowers outside the school.
Pupil Morgan Pritchard, aged 14, a friend of Aleysha’s, said: “There must have been about 200 bunches of flowers left. We lit candles outside the school and we spent the day talking about Aleysha, having a laugh. She was only at St Catherine’s Academy for about a year but she blended in quickly.
“Aleysha had a good sense of humour. She was always smiling, always having a joke and dancing. She would dance to Arctic Monkeys and Billy Ocean.”
He added: “We thought it was important not to go to lessons to pay our respects to Aleysha.”
A vigil was held on Friday at Home Bargains in Bury Road, Breightmet, where flowers, lanterns, and balloons were taken to the academy and laid out in the teenager’s memory.
Morgan wanted to thank everyone for donating funds to pay for a headstone and a bench with a plaque for Aleysha. Nearly £1,000 has been raised so far.