School responds to backlash after excluding pupil who shouted 'free Palestine' in class
The school said he committed "racist abuse"
A school in Manchester has defended itself after a pupil at the school was suspended for shouting "free Palestine" in his class.
The incident apparently occurred at Parrs Wood High School in Didsbury. A letter that was sent from the school to the boy's parents was shared on Twitter on Saturday, with the decision initially sparking anger amongst many.
In the letter, the high school states that the pupil was excluded for half a day for committing "racist abuse."
The Independent reports that the letter read: "I realise this exclusion may well be upsetting for you and your family, but the decision to exclude [your son] has not been taken lightly. [He] has been excluded for racist abuse, during his technology lesson he shouted out 'free Palestine'.
"You have a duty to ensure that your child is not present in a public place in school hours during the exclusion, unless there is reasonable justification for this. I must warn you that you may receive a penalty notice from the local authority if your child is present in a public place during school hours on the specified date."
The user who shared the letter on Twitter, Adnan Choudry, wrote that he was "ashamed" to have gone to the school himself. The post has since been deleted, but not before it received a fierce backlash from other Twitter users.
One user labelled the letter "appalling," and suggested that the parent should perhaps call a solicitor.
Another user agreed, writing: "Call a solicitor, this isn't acceptable."
However, the Manchester Evening News reports that the school has since responded to the backlash and explained in a statement issued to parents on Sunday that the boy was excluded because the remark was made towards a member of the school community based on their ethnicity.
Some users on Twitter had wondered whether this was the case, and were keen to know what the context of the incident was.
One pointed out that if the boy had shouted the phrase in the face of a Jewish child then "that is racial prejudice," whilst another wrote that "kids should not be disrupting classes by yelling out political mantras. He's lucky it was for half a day."
If he yelled it in the face of a Jewish child implicitly blaming that child for Israel's actions, that is racial prejudice.
— Eddie Dolan (@TGSRPM) May 16, 2021
The news of the alleged suspension comes after thousands of people protested across the UK in solidarity with the people of Palestine.
The region has seen the worst violence with Israel since 2014, and the death toll in Gaza is now at least 145, with a further eight killed in Israel.