Through our decades of work on Prevent, and after gathering data from hundreds of students, teaching staff and parents for our report ‘Repression of Palestine Solidarity in Schools’ (2021), we have always known there is an urgent need to protect the right to support Palestinian rights in British schools.
After thousands in Britain demonstrated their support for Palestinians in Jerusalem and Gaza, after the attacks in Gaza. This also triggered a response from Muslim students.
On 28 May, Education Minister Gavin Williamson issued a controversial letter to school leaders, which appeared to be a directive to school leaders to curtail pro-Palestinian support, while imposing a pro-Israel state-sponsored narrative.
We then got over 50 cases in one week of the disproportionate response from the headteachers/schools on the children's expression of solidarity, flags, free Palestine stickers and organising fundraisers were met with detentions, suspension, exclusions and in some cases police involvement.
Williamson's letter solidified and rubber stamped the approach schools were taking, and this triggered our legal action. We also assisted over 50 families at this time.
- Raised £10,000 for the legal challenge against the Education Minister.
- Six months after issuing the claim, the government issued amended guidance to schools entitled Political Impartiality in Schools on how to deal with political issues, making special mention of Israel-Palestine.
- Supported students who were silenced for speaking about Palestine in their schools
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