Students who protested ‘discriminatory’ school uniform policy at Pimlico Academy could be expelled

Kate Plummer
Saturday 17 April 2021 10:24
news

The children who protested against “discriminatory” uniform policies at a London secondary school could be expelled.

In an email seen by the Guardian, headteacher of Pimlico Academy Daniel Smith told some parents they would need to attend a disciplinary meeting with their child on Monday 19 April, claiming they had exhibited “disruptive behaviour”.

Last month, students at the school walked out to protest the school’s uniform policy. The policy included a ban on hairstyles that “block the view of others” – triggering complaints from parents who said this resulted in a ban on Afro haircuts - and said headscarves had to be “conventional and understated in style”, which caused upset among Muslim students.

Pupils were also perturbed by the lack of recognition of the Black Lives Matter movement in the school curriculum and the presence of the Union flag outside the school gates.

But now, despite amending the school uniform policy and removing the flag from outside the building, Smith is apparently considering disciplinary sanctions.

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The email read: “Following [child’s name] disruptive behaviour on the last day of term, she is required to attend a disciplinary meeting… The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the nature of [child’s name] disruptive behaviour on the last day of term and to give [child’s name] the opportunity to reflect on their actions.

“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.”

It added that the meeting will be approached from a “reconciliatory perspective” and it was hoped permanent exclusion would be avoided.”

Meanwhile, this week the chair of Future Academies which runs the school, Lord Nash, wrote a letter to parents warning that any future behavioural breaches by pupils would result in disciplinary action.

Responding to the news, people bemoaned the decision and expressed their solidarity with the students involved.

Lawyer Jo Maugham said:

Meanwhile, Labour MPs Zarah Sultana and Nadia Whittome added:

We’ve contacted the school to see what they say, and await their decision.

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