CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Pupils excluded after ‘racist attack’ on schoolgirls

Parliament Hill School accused of not taking warnings seriously enough

22 April, 2021 — By Harry Taylor

Police made one arrest

TWO pupils have been permanently excluded from one of Camden’s leading secondary schools after an incident which saw four girls attacked. Parliament Hill School said it was investigating allegations of “racially aggravated abuse” in relation to the incident, with all the victims being Muslims.

The four teenagers – one of whom reported they were knocked unconscious – said they were attacked after leaving the school on March 31. The group said they have been subjected to social media trolling and that footage of the incident had been tagged with “9/11 flight crew”.

Relatives of the girls said that previous incidents raised with the school had not been acted upon properly, including a claim that one was told “to go back to your ­country” and another occasion in which they were allegedly told they would be “fed bacon”.

There are conflicting accounts between the school and relatives over whether concerns were passed on to safeguarding officers. One of the victims said she was threatened on a bus during which she was told her headscarf would be “ripped off”.

A relative of one of the girls said: “Teachers at the school were notified of the bullying and discrimination at a very premature stage in this case. With early intervention much of this trauma and physical abuse could have been avoided.

“Prevention is better than cure, and now, due to lack of care, [they] have had to endure such unpleasant and disgraceful actions and slurs before anything had been taken seriously.”

Police confirmed that a 15-year-old girl was arrested after officers were called to an incident in Islip Street, Kentish Town. and that three teenagers were treated for what were described as minor injuries. The girl has since been released under investigation and police said enquiries continue.

Parliament Hill School confirmed two students have been permanently excluded and the New Journal understands it is considering further action.

The school says its ethos “celebrates diversity within the school community and beyond”.

Headteacher Sarah Creasey said: “We are responding, with the police, to a serious incident that took place outside of school near Kentish Town at the end of spring term. Our investigation is focused on an assault on a small group of students from Parliament Hill School and allegations of racially aggravated abuse.

“We are working with families to establish whether this conflict is directly related to a previous incident in school, which took place in school just before lockdown in December.”

She added: “We do not tolerate any form of prejudice-based bullying or racist abuse at Parliament Hill and always take robust action on the rare occasions when the behaviour of children in school is a cause for concern. We understand how distressing this incident has been for the victims and their families and will be working closely with them to ensure that they are fully supported.”

Iman Atta the director of Tell MAMA, a body that monitors anti-Muslim incidents in the UK, said: “We are concerned that the school did not listen to the fears of Muslim students who said that they had received physical threats of their headscarves being ripped off and being threatened with the forcible feeding of pork products. We know that these issues escalate, as they have done, when they are not immediately tackled. The school should have intervened far earlier and the question is, why not?”

Camden’s youth chief Abdul Hai said: “We understand that the school and the police are actively responding to these events and are ready to help in any way we can. We want to make sure all our residents are able to recognise hate incidents, and how to safely challenge and report such behaviour.”

 

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