Teachers say they no longer want school-based police after the Child Q aggression
Teachers have said they want more police to be deployed at the school after they became angry over the treatment of Child Q, as members of the National Education Union voted to remove the senior police officers involved in the case.
Delegates at NEU’s annual conference have backed a resolution calling for police to be called “a last resort” for schools and teachers to deal with students.
One speaker after another told the conference that Child Q’s experience – where he was searched by police at his school – was not an isolated incident for black students who were more likely to be influenced by police under the Safe School Officer (SSO) policy.
After a national uproar last month when it came to light that a 15-year-old girl had been stripped-searched by Met officers at her school following a false allegation of possession of marijuana. No cannabis was found.
“What happened to Child Q will never happen again,” said Carly Slingsby, a teacher at Hackney, a local authority that includes Child Q’s school.
“Our police need to close doors and school gates so our kids know they can’t be the next baby question.”
Slingsby said the schools were selected to conduct an SSO based on free school meals, absenteeism rates and the number of children with social workers: “These officers made up their minds about our children before they even set foot in school. “
Louise Lewis, a NEU executive member and teacher at Kirklees, said she was heartbroken when she read about the Child Q experience.
“For school staff, the policies and measures that schools have in place to protect this child have failed miserably, as did the police. Unfortunately, this was not an isolated incident by the police, and that’s why we need change now,” Lewis said.
“These statistics and facts are alarming and so, as the largest education union in the UK, it is important that we stand with Child Q and support its drive for change.”
Neil Dhanda, a teacher at Redbridge, told delegates at the Bournemouth conference that the Child Q case “should raise questions about whether the police should be at school at all.”
“As shocking as this is, the police presence is not the only example of damage. Similarly there are affected families who are concerned that the police at school have an unequal effect on black children.
“Schools should not be policed and children should not be criminalized. It only limits their educational and life opportunities, feeding a school into a prison pipeline that unfairly affects the working class and black students. “
Kevin Courtney, the union’s joint general secretary, said: “This must be stopped, and the NEU urges the police to stop searching for children and to consult extensively with the government on the revised Code of Conduct, which focuses on child protection.”
In his introductory speech at the conference, NEU President Daniel Kebede said the Child Q case “highlights a growing trend where police are always present at school”, leading to the criminalization of children.
“Some say I’m wrong and the police can play a priestly role, but I don’t think that’s right. They insulted, humiliated and insulted the child queue, “Kebede said.
Noting that ChildQ was not addicted to drugs, Kebede said: “I know of one place where 11 out of 12 toilets tested positive for cocaine. This is a place where there is a 24 hour police presence. It is called the House of Parliament. Why is that [the Met] Strip-searching kids and not strip-searching MPs?
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