School investigates after teacher is recorded shouting at pupil over Palestine protest

Oulder Hill Community School in Rochdale has launched an investigation after an audio recording emerged of a teacher shouting at a pupil who was protesting about the situation in Gaza.

In the recording a boy, thought to be a Year 7 pupil, is rebuked by two members of staff for apparently wearing a face-mask in school with a slogan – understood to be “Free Palestine” – on it. At one point in the recording the boy was accused of racism.

But in a statement the school has appealed for calm saying they “recognise the strength of feeling” the incident has caused.

The school added the incident has caused “an amount of unrest amongst parents and in the wider community” after being widely shared on Facebook and Twitter.

A statement signed by headteacher John Watson, chair of governors Barry Corless and governor Mohammed Shafiq said: “You may be aware of an amount of unrest amongst parents and in the wider community related to posts on social media and recordings/videos being circulated of a discussion between two members of our staff and a pupil related to events in Gaza.

“The Oulder Hill Governing Body would like to take this opportunity to reassure parents that an investigation is taking place into the events at school and the subsequent messages, videos and audio that have been shared on social media and the circumstances. This follows school policies and procedures and is supported by governors.

“We must allow this investigation to take its course and avoid making comments or taking actions that may prejudice these proceedings. Governors would further remind all staff, pupils and parents that there is absolutely no place at Oulder Hill for any threats or intolerance, we pride ourselves in our commitment to race equality.

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“These are the rules that we as governors are accountable to uphold. The school has robust proven policies for addressing these matters that we would ask everybody to respect and follow. The governors share a duty of care to all staff and pupils that requires us all to adhere to strict processes and procedures that are fair to all involved.

“Oulder Hill is committed to learning from experience meaning no stone will be left unturned when it comes to absorbing and implementing the lessons of the past week’s events.

“Governors recognise the strength of feeling around the topic. Over the last 24 hours we have benefited from talking to fellow governor Mohammed Shafiq and other community leaders who have shared valuable insight into the situation. As governors we request staff, parents, students and friends of our school to let the processes play out.”

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