Students who organised a protest against their schools racist policies have outrageously been threatened with expulsion, we cannot let this happen, argues Jamal Elaheebocus
Students at Pimlico Academy who helped organise the protest against racist school rules could be expelled on the first day back after the Easter holidays.
Several hundred students protested outside the school on the last day of term, opposing racist school rule changes, which would ban hairstyles “which blocked the views of others” and colourful hijabs. They were also protesting against changes to the school curriculum, the school’s refusal to acknowledge Black Lives Matter or Black History Month and the placement of a Union Jack flag outside the school building.
Students gathered in the school grounds, calling for a reversal of these school rules and for the headteacher to resign. In response, the schools leadership called the police.
Now several of the students who organised the protest have been sent a letter by the headteacher, Daniel Smith, saying that they will have to attend a disciplinary meeting on Monday and informing their parents:
You should be aware that if [child’s name] is found to have committed a serious breach of the academy’s behaviour policy and if it is deemed that [child’s name] remaining in school would seriously harm the education or welfare of others, consideration will be given to permanently excluding [child’s name] from the academy
This is an outrageous attack by a school which has treated students with contempt and has sought to enforce deeply discriminatory rules against Black and Muslim students.
The school is already in turmoil as 30 teachers plan to leave at the school year. 85 members of staff at the academy represented by the NEU (99%) voted no-confidence in the headteacher Daniel Smith, and 98% support a ballot for industrial action.
We must defend the students from even a single exclusion and stand in full solidarity with them. The NEU, students and their parents and the local community should escalate the campaign against this discriminatory and appalling treatment of the students.
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