Tell MAMA is supporting a Muslim family following a violent assault on their daughter who had their headscarf (hijab) forcibly removed by a fellow student at a South Yorkshire academy in February 2022, but the family feels that failures in leadership continue to negatively impact their daughter and other students.
We provide an anonymised summary of the incidents from their parent’s perspective below:
“In February 2022, my daughter had her headscarf pulled off by another student, after which a fight ensued. The academy did not take it seriously, and hence we reported the incident to Tell MAMA and to the police. There was a meeting held between the principal, parents, and Tell MAMA where it was claimed that the forced removal of my daughter’s headscarf was ‘not due’ to her Muslim identity, despite further supporting evidence showcasing the student has shared statements that are anti-Muslim in nature. I asked, what changes the academy would implement moving forward, only to hear instead, that the principal ‘cannot control’ the behaviour of their students.
This incident has impacted my daughter’s mental health, and the academy has consistently failed to give adequate support. My daughter was seated next to the same students in class, which caused her further distress. She even mentioned feeling suicidal in front of leadership staff and a safeguarding officer, who claimed not to hear it.
In February 2023, a complaint to the academy panel revealed that false statements had been shared with local authorities and Ofsted. Despite the panel appearing to take a step in the right direction, incidents continued to occur, meaning that a lack of accountability continues at the academy.
The same students targeted my daughters again in June 2023 and other incidents have taken place at the academy. The principal continued to take the position that they did ‘not see’ anything. No one wants to admit what happens during academy hours, all they care about is their reputation and not the safety of their students. No one at the academy has taken accountability and it has enabled the ongoing targeting of my daughter.”
Tell MAMA has been supporting the family for over a year, attending meetings, and addressing these incidents as a hate crime during panel discussions. The academy’s response has fallen short of the standards we expect, and the family wants other families to be aware of these incidents, and for the academy to learn a valuable lesson and implement structural changes. For our part, Tell MAMA intends to give training to staff to help eliminate anti-Muslim bias, and discriminatory attitudes and promote collaboration and mutuality between those of diverse backgrounds among students and staff.
Notes to the editor.
1) Tell MAMA is a confidential and independent third-party support service working across the UK for those impacted by anti-Muslim hatred, discrimination, and abuse in a decade, over 20,000 Muslims and other communities have engaged with our service. Tell MAMA has also worked on over 16,000 cases of reported anti-Muslim hatred and discrimination, with a doubling of our verified caseload in the lifespan of our work.
2) Across a decade of our work, we worked with government, civil society, local authorities, police forces, the Crown Prosecution Service, and private bodies in providing evidence-based research, and training programmes, and sharing best practices with our support services for those impacted by racism, anti-LGBT+ hate, and other forms of bias against those with protected characteristics.
3) Tell MAMA published its groundbreaking report ‘A Decade of Anti-Muslim Hate’ in July 2023 which is available to read here: https://tellmamauk.org/a-decade-of-anti-muslim-hate/
4) Please email ‘email@example.com’ FAO of our Director Iman Atta OBE to discuss the story and our work more generally.