Dame Alice Owen pupils protest over racist language
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A selective school has responded to students' protests over complaints about racist language used by their peers.
More than 800 students from Dame Alice Owens school walked out of lessons in protest on May 7, after children and parents reported several incidents of racist language and graffiti.
One of the children’s parents, who asked to remain anonymous, said they hope the protests will help force change at the selective school in Potter's Bar, which takes pupils who live and study in Islington, where it was founded in 1613.
“I think the protests helped the school take on board some of the problems they have to deal with,” they said.
“I think it’s amazing they all came out and did it. There was no trouble at all and they got their opinions across in the right way. I think the protest has made a difference because 800-odd children stood outside and made their voices heard.
“The children have said 'enough is enough' and using this language is not acceptable.
“Letters have been written to the governors about these incidents and the perpetrators got an hour detention on a Friday, which is the same for breaching uniform policy."
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In a statement leaders at Dame Alice Owen’s School apologised, saying: “Dame Alice Owen’s School has always striven to be an inclusive environment where everyone can feel supported.
“The events last week demonstrated that we have not always lived up to this aim.
"Where we have let anyone down in this respect, the school sincerely apologises.
“We have been privileged enough to have been able to speak to students who now feel more able to bring negative experiences to the fore.
“The school, fully supported and encouraged by the governing body views all forms of discrimination as totally unacceptable.
"It has always investigated incidents brought to its attention and continues to do so, issuing firm sanctions, including exclusions, for such behaviours.
“Staff and students will be working with external, specialist, organisations over these next months to refresh and deepen our understanding of the issues our students have raised with us.”