April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

School Incident Sparks International Uproar

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

In the heat of international civil unrest during the George Floyd murder, a Black teen’s ordeal took place without parental consent.

Hackney, East London, UK – It’s taken two years for the facts to emerge of this horrid ordeal, and the details are horrifying.

Police were called by teachers at a Hackney, East London, school who stated they believed a female student smelled of cannabis and suspected she was carrying drugs. Before calling the police, these teachers had searched the student’s handbag, scarf, and shoes but found no drugs. No parent or guardian adult was called or present during the 15-year-old girl’s ordeal, described by a Hackney senior local authority figure as “humiliating, traumatizing, and an utterly shocking” event.

After the teachers’ search, four police officers were summoned to the school, including two women, who carried out another search of the girl (referred to in the report as “Child Q”)—while teachers remained outside the room. The girl was made to strip, bend over, remove her menstrual pad, spread her legs, and use her hands to spread her buttocks while coughing.

When the details of “Child-Q’s” treatment at the school’s medical room emerged in a statement released via her family’s solicitor, and in a child safeguarding review initiated by Hackney East London Council after the incident, “Child-Q” reported, “Someone walked into the school, where I was supposed to feel safe, took me away from the people who were supposed to protect me, and stripped me naked, while on my period,” she said in the statement. She added that she did not know if she would “ever feel normal again.”

The report emphasized the importance of whether the child was treated differently because she was Black, adding that this line of inquiry had been starkly reflected in several events that took place around the same time.

The report determined that racism had probably been a factor in her treatment, saying, “Having considered the context of the incident, the views of those engaged in the review, and the impact felt by Child Q and her family, racism (whether deliberate or not), was likely to have been an influencing factor in the decision to undertake a strip search. Significantly, some six months prior to George Floyd who was tragically killed in the USA, there were repercussions around the globe, including in the UK.”

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, described the case as “shocking and deeply disturbing,” and said that he would be closely following the outcome of the IOPC investigation. Three officers have reportedly been placed under investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct over the incident, although they remain on full duty.

 

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