School investigation finds no evidence of hate crime after five year old Sikh boy’s hair is cut in class

An internal investigation at an Abbey Wood primary school where a five year old Sikh boy’s hair was cut by another student has found there was “no evidence the incident was racially motivated.”

The incident took place in a reception class on May 21 at Alexander McLeod Primary School.

One of the boy’s parents took to social media to raise awareness about the incident, saying they were “deeply hurt”.

The post read: “I am just posting this because we as parents are deeply hurt by this incident which happened today with my son.

“My son is only 5 years old, a Sikh boy and I never cut his hair but someone in school today cut his hair with scissors.

“My boy is really upset and saying I am not going to school now. I don’t understand where a reception student can get scissors and it’s shameful.

“It’s bullying which should not be accepted. We are really scared to send him to school. We don’t know what to do to secure him in future.”

In Sikhism, kesh is the practice of allowing one’s hair to grow naturally out of respect for the perfection of God’s creation.

The Sikh Federation UK shared the post on Twitter, saying: “Totally unacceptable & devastating to hear about the bullying & assault on a 5yr old boy at South London School Alexandra McLeod. For a Sikh boy to have his sacred unshorn hair cut by another pupil while in school is one of the worst possible #Antisikhhate crimes.”

But the school’s investigation has denied the incident was a hate crime.

In a statement, headteacher Mr Mustafa said: “After conducting a thorough investigation and liaising closely with the Metropolitan Police, all the families involved, Gurdwara Sahib Woolwich, South London Sikh Youth organisation and a legal representative from the local authority, we have all concluded that there is no evidence the incident was racially motivated or that a hate crime had been committed. 

“We regret that this incident occurred and recognise that five-year-old children will make mistakes as part of their learning and we will work together to avoid such incidents in the future.

“The investigation report and action plan has been shared with the local authority who agree with  the key headlines and are hopeful that the matter is now resolved.”

Mr Mustafa said that it was common for children to be using scissors in reception classes.

He also condemned “pockets” of the media for the way the incident had been reported.

He said: “There have been many false and highly damaging stories published which have had a huge impact on the mental wellbeing of staff at our school and our parent community. 

“I am deeply disappointed by pockets of the media and other organisations who have shared false information before allowing the school the opportunity to even investigate the matter. We all have much to learn from this.”

Greenwich Councillor Matt Morrow, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “The council has been in constant communication with Alexander McLeod School and is fully supportive of the findings of the internal investigation.

“The situation has been treated with the sensitivity that it deserved and we now consider the matter to be closed.”

 


 

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