Sunday 22 April 2018

White school pupils ‘tied up and whipped black student for mock slave auction’

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Eleanor Busby

Police are investigating an incident where white pupils allegedly tied a black student to a lamppost, whipped him with sticks, and called him racist names as part of a “mock slave auction”.

The board of governors at the secondary school in Bath, in Somerset, has allowed three of the alleged perpetrators to return to school after they were originally expelled.

Parents were not told about the alleged incident – where seven teenagers allegedly carried out the attack at school during lunchtime on 22 January – until yesterday, the Bath Chronicle reports.

The headteacher of the school, which has not been named to protect the victim’s identity, initially expelled three of the alleged perpetrators - but governors allowed the teenagers to return to class.

Four other boys were only excluded for around a fortnight for their actions.

The incident emerged just a week after police arrested two students for racist chanting directed at a Nottingham Trent University student in her halls of accommodation.

The school in Bath said it “thoroughly investigated” the incident in January and said it took action “in line with statutory procedures”.

The pupils’ parents did not wish to comment but other parents were shocked to hear of the abuse.

A father of a pupil the school told the Chronicle: “I've got a mixed-race son. He's thinking 'They're going to stick up for the white kids but we get in trouble if we do something wrong'."

His partner agreed, saying she was still ”reeling“ from shock at the school’s approach to the situation. "I want that child to know he's got people around him, supporting him, who will not tolerate that kind of behaviour," she said.

She added: "The boy it happened to is just the sweetest little thing ever. He's so sweet and kind and gentle. It just makes it even worse.”

The mother called for the boys’ parents, the school and the governors to take responsibility. “Someone has to be held accountable for it. Someone has to say sorry,” she said.

In a message on Tuesday, the school said: “[The allegation] involved a group of established friends and related to a single incident of unacceptable behaviour within the school grounds.

"A full investigation was instigated in line with both internal school procedures and Department of Education requirements, including contact with the police.

“You can be assured that the school has taken this incident exceptionally seriously and that our absolute priority was, and remains, that the right path is taken for all those involved as well as the wider school community.

”Given the ongoing police investigation and the need to protect all those involved, you will understand that it has been necessary to maintain confidentiality and consequently that the school does not wish to comment further."

A police spokesman said: "We were made aware of an incident at [a school in] Bath, on January 22, which took place around lunchtime. Enquiries are ongoing and the school is assisting. Six boys have voluntarily attended a police station and another has agreed to voluntarily attend."

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