Letter to parents and carers from Deputy Mayor Anntoinette Bramble and Mayor Philip Glanville

Dear Parent or Carer,

You will have heard or read about the Hackney report about Child Q, a black girl who was subjected to a degrading strip search by police at a secondary school in Hackney. We are writing to you to convey our horror at these events. We know that many students have been hugely distressed by what has happened and that you and Hackney school teachers and leaders have been managing this distress.

As you may know, the report highlights racism as a likely contributor to this distressing incident. Hackney Council is committed to dismantling racism and it is with huge sadness that we find ourselves writing to you in these circumstances.

Deputy Mayor Bramble as Cabinet Lead for Children and Education has been a champion of anti-racism and inclusion. She had an idea to develop a curriculum that represents and engages Black children and worked with school leaders and Hackney Education to bring this to life – it has been accessed by more than 2000 institutions and many from outside of the UK.

We have engaged all Hackney schools in training about cultural competency and adultification (whereby black children are denied responses fitting children and are treated as adults), and we have set up the Hackney Schools Group Board which has led some thoughtful and compassionate work with Black parents and school leaders to bring about change. And yet, despite these initiatives and many more, this appalling event happened to a Black girl in a school in Hackney.

We understand that people want to know which school is implicated in the report. We are unable to share this information as our focus has to be on protecting the identity of Child Q.

Her wellbeing has to be at the forefront of our minds and indeed there is a court order to protect her identity.

We know children, parents and our Hackney residents are angry and they expect better for our children. We are taking assertive action with our partners to drive change. City and Hackney Safeguarding Children Partnership is leading this work.

Hackney school leaders have all expressed their concern about Child Q’s treatment and are talking to staff, students and some are engaging parents too. If you or your child feel triggered by these events do reach out to your child’s school for support or Young Hackney. This way we can extend the support of Council and partner services to help.

We will not rest until we have confidence such an incident will not happen again and we extend our apologies to you and your child for the distress this may have caused.

Our thoughts are with Child Q and her family, and our thoughts are with you.

Yours faithfully,

Mayor Philip Glanville and Deputy Mayor Anntoinette Bramble