Pro-Palestinian protest shuts down primary school over ‘escalating threats against staff’

Pro-Palestinian protest shuts down primary school over ‘escalating threats against staff’

WATCH HERE: Pro-Palestinian protest at school in Leyton

Charlie Peters

By Charlie Peters

Published: 21/12/2023

- 16:17

Updated: 21/12/2023

- 16:20

‘I worry for my daughter’ says mum after flags put up on residential street

There are fears for local safety after an east London primary school was closed early for Christmas due to “escalating threats against staff” after parents were reportedly reprimanded for letting their children display pro-Palestine symbols.

A road was closed by the police after protestors gathered outside Barclay Primary School in Leyton this morning claiming that an “innocent” student of Palestinian heritage had been “discriminated against.”

The protestors also allege on a WhatsApp group used to organise the primary school standoff that an 8-year-old boy was told to stay at home because he had a Palestinian flag sewn into his coat.

The message also added that a girl was “denied” her break and lunch after she wore a Palestinian pin on her coat.

\u200bPalestinian flag hoisted outside school

Palestinian flag hoisted outside school

GB News

Parents were sent letters threatening referrals to PREVENT, the government’s counter-extremism programme, or the Hate Crime Team, according to the Evening Standard.

In a statement, the Lion Academy Trust confirmed that the school had been closed early: “In the light of escalating threats against staff and the school, based on malicious fabrications being broadcast by various media outlets, the Lion Academy Trust will be closing the school from December 20, 2023, to all parents and pupils for the Christmas break.”

“This decision has been made after careful reflection and because we need the school to be a safe place for the children and staff.”

Claims made by the protestors that the 8-year-old with the Palestinian flag on his coat was punished by the school were rejected.

\u200bBarclay primary school in Leyton

Barclay Primary School in Leyton

Google maps

The trust said the letters sent “to eight families (out of a school of 1,325 pupils)” had been “misappropriated and we believe it has been deliberately taken out of context.”

It added: “The letter was specific to alleged misconduct by the parties to whom it was sent. Further, we are bound by our legal duty under Prevent and whilst we have never reported anyone to Prevent at the school, and would not wish to do so, we are seeking to be transparent by making individuals aware of the school’s legal obligations.”

Local parent Nichi Hodgson said that she was worried by the protests and that they could “start to see fighting and discrimination on the streets.”

She told GB News “We’ve always felt super safe here, but I worry for my daughter now. She’s Asian but not a Muslim and I worry that this will inflame tension and people will pick on us.”

Hodgson added: “I’m mostly afraid of the effect this will have on all the local children. I don’t want them fighting because of their different backgrounds or losing out on education.”

A Palestinian flag was put up on a lamppost by her house.

She said: “I don’t want a flag at my house that I haven’t put up and then people targeting my house.”

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