A primary school near Derby has raised eyebrows after it proudly announced that “at the staff and students’ suggestion” children at the school would be taking the knee at this year’s sports day.
The gesture is strongly linked to the anarcho-Marxist Black Lives Matter movement and prompted challenges from parents that it was not the children’s suggestion at all. A local councillor acused the teachers of having “bullied” and indoctrinated the young kids into taking the knee.
The school’s version of events centres around the peculiar claim that racial abuse aimed at England’s players following their loss to Italy in the European championship final somehow involved children and staff at the school.
“Last week, following the Euro football final, a number of our children and staff experienced and witnessed racially motivated abuse online, in the community and targeted at sports players,” said a spokesperson for Noel-Baker Academy in Alvaston, Derby.
“Following this, the school council requested that we do something to reinforce our stance against racism and make it clear that as a school community we are proudly anti-racist.
“At the staff and students’ suggestion we have run a series of morning assemblies every day since, which have explored a range of issues around racism.
“These culminated today in sports day, with students and staff being offered the opportunity to either link arms, put their hands on their heart, take the knee or simply take a minute’s silence to reflect on the beautiful diversity of our world and stand united against racism.
“The choice of action or gesture was entirely free for students and staff alike to choose and was simply about standing united as one community against prejudice or discrimination.”
But parents felt the decision mostly came down to the academy’s staff. One parent, who did not want to be named told the Daily Mail that he felt young children are not equipped to understand gesture politics. He also said he was worried “peer pressure could make them take part even if they did not want to”.
“I think the school should have told us that this was happening and we could have made our own judgements on the situation,” another concerned parent told the paper.
Local ward councillor, Alan Graves openly questioned the process neatly described by the school that led to the pro-BLM decision.
“The real issue here is the peer pressure youngsters would be put under to do something they might not agree with,” said Mr Graves.
“This in effect means they will be bullied by the very people they rely on to educate them. One has to ask the question as to why a school would suggest something that is divisive amongst pupils.
“This amounts to indoctrination and advocates racism, something the school suggests it opposes. It is one thing where adults make these choices but to put such pressure on children is not good for the society we all live in.”