Corby school apologises following allegations racist incidents were dealt with inappropriately

The school has acknowledged that its response to a second incident ‘should have been clearer’

By Kate Cronin
Sunday, 18th April 2021, 8:00 am
Brooke Weston Academy, Corby. File picture.
Brooke Weston Academy, Corby. File picture.

A leading Corby secondary school has responded to allegations that staff didn’t deal robustly enough with racist incidents after the claims were shared widely on social media.

The concerned elder sister of a student at Brooke Weston Academy took to Twitter to air her fury at how the school had dealt with two complaints of racism.

After a racist video was recorded outside of school by a pupil, the woman’s teenage sister confronted the student when she saw them in school, but it’s said she was then made to apologise to the perpetrator in a mediation session.

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A Black Lives Matter protest in Corby in the summer attracted support of hundreds of people from across the town. Image: JPI Media.

The woman said that her sister had been called 'intimidating' and made to feel as though she was in the wrong by a staff member.

She also said she believed the school's response to a previous incident of racism earlier this year was not robust enough. In that incident, a vile message saying that 'BLM is unnecessary' was sent outside of school hours by a pupil.

In a statement, Brooke Weston said staff will always support students who raise racism allegations and apologised for its lack of clarity during the mediation.

After the social media post was shared 600 times and liked more than 1,000 times, parents of other students contacted the Northants Telegraph to express their concern.

We are choosing not to identify any of those involved.

The girl’s sister told our reporter that she felt it was important to bring the allegations to light to support and improve things for her younger sibling.

Shaun Strydom, Principal of Brooke Weston Academy, said: “Racist or prejudicial behaviour is completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated at our school. We are very proud of the strong sense of community we have at Brooke Weston Academy, and promote inclusivity, equality, and acceptance in everything we do.

“While there are inaccuracies in the social media posts, they relate to two isolated incidents that started online and outside of the school at separate times.

“Investigations were immediately opened as soon as the offensive behaviour was brought to our attention. The students at fault in both incidents have since apologised and been appropriately disciplined for their actions.

“Our staff will always support students who raise concerns and will ensure any such matter is quickly and appropriately investigated. We have since reminded all students and families how they can raise such concerns with our staff to ensure these are handled speedily through the correct channels.

“Following the second incident, which was brought to our attention this week, and having had further conversations with those involved, we are clear that appropriate action has now been taken. We do, however, fully accept that in seeking to diffuse what was then an initial altercation between students, the mediation should have been clearer to avoid any possible upset or misunderstanding for which we apologise.

“We are continuing to work with the people and families directly involved and will reflect on the matter as a whole school community to ensure this does not happen again.”

In summer, 400 people from Corby joined a Black Lives Matter protest at James Ashworth VC Square to show support for local people of colour. Many people there shared their stories of how they had experienced racism in the town.