29 Mar London secondary school covered with graffiti following backlash over ‘racist’ uniform policy
A London secondary school which was recently criticised for a discriminatory uniforms policy has been sprayed with graffiti accusing it of racism.
Three sets of wording have been written across the outside of Pimlico Academy’s primary, secondary and sixth form bases in south London which read: “White schools for brown kids – are you mad?’, ‘Pimlico Academy…run by racists…for profit!!!’ and ‘Ain’t no black in the Union Jack…’.
One parent, who shared the images with The Independent, said: “I’m definitely not shocked. I knew it would’ve been coming because there’s been ongoing unhappiness among students and parents about the school’s discriminatory uniform policy and lack of awareness around issues to do with race.
It comes in the wake of intense scrutiny surrounding the institution and its newly introduced uniform policy which states that hairstyles that “block the views of others” will not be permitted.
The new measures caused particular concern among Black students who have Afro hair, and a petition was launched against the policy which amassed over 1,000 signatures.
The graffitied messages “echo” the views of students and their families, according to the parent.
“The students and fellow parents aren’t particularly distressed by the graffiti because, at the end of the day, it echoes our views which the school’s leadership has been aware of for some time and chosen to ignore. When people have had enough then you see protests and displays like what’s currently written on the walls.
“If anything the school’s leadership are more concerned about the graffiti than anyone else because it doesn’t look good. Perhaps this will finally be the wake-up call it needs to address its own policies and treatment of black students.”
The vandalism is thought to have occurred over the weekend and it has since been covered by white paper.
The petition reads that: “We as students have the right to express ourselves however we choose, and also have the right to have our natural hair weather it be big hair small hair or loads of facial hair or no facial hair. (…) We should be able to wear any coloured Hijabs we want as its part of a lot of people’s religion,.”
Speaking in September, after the new policy was introduced, a spokesperson for the school said that: “The rationale for this is self-explanatory and doesn’t relate to any specific hairstyle.” And it said the new policy reflects a “professional environment”.
There have been numerous examples of hair discrimination at schools in recent years.
Last February, The Independent reported that the family of a mixed race London student, Ruby Williams, successfully sued her school after teachers repeatedly sent her home for sporting her afro hair. Her claim of racial discrimination was supported by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).
Following legal action in 2018, Fulham Boys school was forced to overturn its decision to penalise 13-year-old Chikayzea Flanders for wearing dreadlocks – a hairstyle common among people of African-Caribbean descent and an observance of the Rastafarian faith.
And that case echoed the 2011 high court battle in which Gregory’s Catholic Science College in north London was ruled against, after refusing entry to an 11-year-old black boy – known as ‘G’ – on his first day of school for wearing cornrows.
The Independent has approached Pimlico Academy for comment.