A school in Manchester has denied temporarily excluding a pupil simply because he said “Free Palestine,” and has insisted that the remark was directed at a teacher based on their ethnicity.
Parrs Wood High School in Didsbury issued a statement after a social media uproar over the weekend which followed a letter by the school saying that the pupil had been excluded for racist abuse during his technology lesson when he shouted out Free Palestine.”
However, in a statement issued to parents on Sunday evening, Parrs Wood High School said the boy was excluded because the Free Palestine remark was made towards a member of the school community based on their ethnicity (thought to be Jewish).
In an email sent to parents, the school said: “Parrs Wood High School is a proud comprehensive and diverse community school. We have students from a wide variety of backgrounds, which is what makes our school so special. You may have seen comments on social media pertaining to a student exclusion last week.
“The school would like clarify some key points: The school did not, and would not, issue a Fixed Term Exclusion for stating ‘Free Palestine.’ The school did issue a half day Fix Term Exclusions where the phrase ‘Free Palestine’ was directed at a member of our school community based on their ethnicity. The school is concerned about the growing humanitarian crisis in the Middle East (the Gaza Strip, Israel and the West Bank) and will be working hard to support all of our students who are affected by this.”
Both the Parrs Wood High School Twitter account and Facebook page have since been removed.
Following the school’s statement the boy’s aunt said the family do not support any plans to protest outside the school because it would disrupt education and lead to potential harm.
She added that her nephew did not deliberately target a teacher based on ethnicity and that the school was seemingly trying to blame the victim.