Enraged parents of children placed in ‘isolation’ on a non-uniform fundraising day for wearing clothing and badges bearing the Palestine flag, raise pressing concerns about safeguarding.
On Friday 24th November, Mount Pellon Primary Academy in Halifax, held a non-uniform day to raise money for children around the world.
This was similar to a fundraising day held by the primary school in support of Ukraine, where there were no objections on children donning the Ukraine flag/emblems.
Speaking about the primary school’s actions following children wearing Palestine attire, Mr Zohaib Ali, uncle of three of the children that attend Mount Pellon Primary said: “Children were advised to take off the clothing and put things on from lost property or face isolation all day.
“The youngest child placed in isolation is just four-years-old, can you imagine what that child was going through?”
Mr Ali, speaking on behalf of the parents says that the children were separated from classes, and endured hours of “isolation without adequate communication”.
Mrs Ali, parent of a seven-year-old who endured the disciplinary action said: “The school hesitated to label it as ‘isolating’ but insisted it was ‘supervision’, confining her to a small, windowless library.
“They denied her [my daughter] even a water bottle, revealing a blatant breach of safeguarding protocols.”
Mrs Younis, the mother of the four-year-old disciplined that day, said: “All four of my children where isolated along with one other child for wearing a hoodie contenting the word ‘Palestine’ on it”.
“My eldest son, Hussain is 11-years-old and is the head boy at the school, and my youngest Hayfa is just four-years-old.
“They were separated from lessons all day. They were only allowed a five-minute playtime separate from their peers.
“Alone and neglected. Not a school who vows to nurture and protect our children.
“In a world where children can choose their own gender, they’re being told they can’t choose what to wear or think?
“I didn’t, not once, ever think our school could make our children feel so little and disheartened by one non-uniform day.
“My four-year-old was so scared she kept questioning me if “will I be allowed to play with my friends”.
“It’s a horrible feeling to think your kids are scared in the place they spend most of the day in.”
Mr Ali adds: “I speak on behalf of many parents from different race and religion from Mount Pellon Primary Academy. We are appalled and disgusted in the way that our children have been silenced and scare-mongered by the staff at this school.
“The school has been totally unsympathetic towards the parents. The refused to meet with us a group and even the choice of wording was selective.
“They stated that a child was being anti-semitic in school, so they’ve collectively decided to punish all children from supporting Palestine. They stated a risk assessment was carried around wearing Palestine clothing and there was a risk to child safety.
“We are utterly ashamed and disappointed with the lack of empathy and understanding from the school. Even now the apologies have not been heart felt but out of fear of what the community can do.”
Asian Express contacted Mount Pellon Primary Academy and the Northern Education Trust, of which it is part of, and they issued the following statement:
“As a trust, we apologise for the hurt that some parents and children have felt over the last few weeks. This never was and never would be our intention. We understand the depth of feeling and hurt within the community surrounding the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
“We recognise that this is a very upsetting time for many families, and our intention throughout this whole period has only been to try and maintain a settled environment in school where children can concentrate on their learning. We care passionately about our students and Mount Pellon’s school community.
“During the last week, we have had some extremely positive meetings with a representative from the Calderdale Council of Mosques, parents and community representatives to discuss ways in which the school, parents and the wider community can work together more positively. We are all excited about next week’s fundraising event, organised by a group of parents and a local charity to raise money for the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza.”