Pupils and teachers suffer burns in UK school’s Ash Wednesday stunt

Pupils and teachers suffer burns in UK school’s Ash Wednesday stunt March 8, 2019

A TOTAL of 90 pupils and staff members at St Augustine’s Catholic High School in Redditch, Worcestershire, suffered chemical burns while having ash crosses smudged onto their foreheads during an Ash Wednesday assembly this week.

Chairo Rowe, 14, was one of the injured pupils. His burn required hospital treatment. Image via YouTube/SWNS

Angry parents said the stupid ritual was performed by a priest and two older children but was stopped half way through when people complained of “tingling”.

Cassena Brown, 39, Chairo’s mother, said she was furious when she learned that students had the ash smeared on their heads by fellow pupils. Her son needed to take two days off of school as result of the burn.

She said:

I am absolutely furious. They started with the year nine and it was the priest and two sixth form children – a boy and a girl. That’s the first thing that confused me when I heard about it. Why are children doing it to other children?

After a while some of the children said that it had started to burn. Some of the teachers said it did as well. Some of them rubbed it off straight away, but some left it on.

Brown said when children complained of burning after leaving the ash on some were given wet wipes.

But when some of the kids wiped it off, it ripped the skin off as well. It was red raw. They should have been sent to a medical professional, not given a perfumed wet wipe.

A grandfather of another burned child said:

They are anointed with a cross on the forehead. The medium used was a mixture of palm oil and ash from burned leaves. They must have picked a toxic leaf as the results in most cases were burns on the forehead resulting in hospital admissions for many children. The parents are contemplating legal action.

St Augustine’s Catholic High School said the ash was provided by a priest from the Diocese of Birmingham, which sourced it from a company in Aldridge.

The school confirmed that a total of 90 people, most of them student, were burned in the Ash Wednesday service. It sent a message to the students’ parents explaining the injuries sustained during their Ash Wednesday service. A school spokesman said:

The school is dismayed by this event. Those impacted were administered on site by trained First Aiders and then advised to seek further medical attention. An investigation has started and the ashes are being analysed by external experts.

A subsequent report will be made available to all stakeholders and any recommendations will be actioned accordingly.
Saint Augustine’s Catholic High School treats students’ health and safety as paramount.


Another angry Ash Wednesay adult is Catholic Karen Fisher, above – but she’s got the hump because her grandson was ordered by a teacher at a Utah’s Valley View Elementary School in Bountiful to remove a cross smeared on his forehead.

The unnamed teacher who forced William McLeod to wash off the ash has since apologised but may still face disciplinary action.

After the boy, a fourth grader arrived at the school with the ash marking he was approached by the teacher and told to remove it.


William, above, reportedly attempted to explain why he wanted to keep the ash cross on his forehead, but he said his teacher wouldn’t listen.

She took me aside, and she said, “You have to take it off”. She gave me a disinfection wipe – whatever they are called – and she made me wipe it off.

Karen Fisher said she was “pretty upset” by the incident and received a call from the school’s principal and the teacher who ordered the cross to be washed off.

I asked her if she read the Constitution with the First Amendment, and she said, “No”.

Davis School District’s spokesman Chris Williams apologised for the incident and said an investigation is being conducted. He said:

Why that even came up, I have no idea. When a student comes in to school with ashes on their forehead, it’s not something we say, “Please take off'”.

William’s family said the teacher apologised with a handwritten note and candy.

Fisher said:

I hope it helps somebody and I hope it never happens again. I don’t think it will.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • TrickyDicky

    I am getting a strong feeling of Deja Vu with this story.

  • Cozmo the Magician

    I’m guessing the teacher that demanded the kid wash the ash off was NOT a catholic. Probably some OTHER flavor of christhumper. This is what ‘religious freedom’ really looks like. Christians telling other christians what to do/not do. And history shows just how good that turns out.

  • larry parker

    Someone must have blessed the ashes wrong.

  • Sooner or later those that adhere to fallacies, superstitions and rituals will be harmed by them. This kind of bullshit is totally unnecessary and is only another excuse to have s mass to squeeze more money out of the sheep that participate.

  • PinochleofVirtue

    If he had completely covered his face with the black ash it would have been fine. /s

  • Think Light Blue

    In Utah? Could be Mormon, but not a sure thing.

  • Broga

    No end to religious nonsense.

  • Clancy

    If the ashes were moistened with water instead of palm oil, it would have generated lye.

  • Robert Conner

    What’s amazing is that after paying out nearly $4 billion in damages to victims of sexual assault and more than a decade of lurid revelations of thousands of priests from multiple countries serially molesting kids, there’s still such a thing as a Catholic school to which parents knowingly send children.

  • Broga

    I’ve got more ash than I know what to do with and it goes on the compost heap. Could be a business opportunity for me. I can guarantee it is cold, natural and no artificial chemicals in it.

  • John Thunderer

    I have realised the real reason why this happened.
    All the school children are possessed by the devil.
    Doesn’t flesh burn when the cross is put on it?
    This school should be closed immediately.
    It is the only way to save the pupil’s souls.

  • CoastalMaineBird

    I wonder why Jesus his own bad self didn’t reach down and protect these children from the stupidity of their elders.


    No, I don’t wonder.

  • Raymond Metcalfe

    If it has an image of jesus on your ash heap it will be worth a lot more

  • Broga

    I have a good relationship with an RC priest, a decent man but led astray in his youth, so perhaps he would bless the ash heap and identify an image of Jesus there. I thought I saw the Virgin Mary there the other day. Thanks for the suggestion. I will check that this morning. Trouble is that ash gets blown about. I could cover it and sell souvenirs like they do at Lourdes. What I also need is a miracle but they don’t seem too difficult to conjure up.

  • GalapagosPete

    Deja vu? Again?

  • Then if they had added Lime, Silica, Alumina, and Magnesia, it may have resulted in little cement crosses on their foreheads- but the mixing might have been messy. Just how to fix the formwork? Hmmm! Thumbtacks?

    Hasn’t anyone heard about good old razor-blades?


  • (I was going to post a Edge of Tomorrow themed pic, but – hey – time marches on [but one can get hit by a car, and fall down the stairs . . rinse and repeat] )